World War I – Behind Enemy Lines – (Mrs) Louisa Creed

It is always interesting to read a woman’s perspective of events. As many of you know late last year I wrote a series of blogs ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ giving an account of the experiences of two Australian women, Jean and Lute Drummond, who were living in Berlin, when war broke out in 1914.

In fact there were many Australian girls, from all walks of life, studying and furthering their careers in Europe when war broke out. They too were caught ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ and had many experiences as they tried desperately to escape Germany and the other war torn countries. Many wrote about these experiences later.

Then there were the most unusual and daring Australian women, who wanted to be on the war front to report what was going on. One of these was Louisa Creed.

According to an article in the Australian Dictionary of Biography at

Marie Louise Hamilton Mack was born in Hobart in 1870, the eldest daughter of the Rev Hans Hamilton Mack, a Wesleyan minister from Downpatrick in Ireland, and his wife Jemima James , who had married in Sydney in 1859. The family moved from circuit to circuit in several Australian states including Morpeth, Windsor and Sydney in New South Wales.

She was educated by her mother and a private governess before attending the Sydney Girls High School, where she was a contemporary of the Australian authoress, Ethel Turner.

‘Louisa’ as she was generally known, worked briefly as a governess before becoming a regular contributor of stories, poetry and musings to The Bulletin.

In 1896 she married John Percy Creed, a barrister from Dublin. She had her first novel published the same year. Soon afterwards she joined the staff of The Bulletin.

In 1901, she and her husband moved to London, where Louisa carried on her writing and publishing career. She travelled widely in Europe and published seven novels. During this period she also spent time as a journalist for the Daily Mail in London and the Italian Gazette in Florence.

When war broke out in 1914 she managed to travel to Belgium as the first woman war correspondent reporting for the Evening News and Daily Mail. Her eye witness account of the German invasion of Antwerp follows below.

Louise Mack (Mrs Creed), the only woman correspondent it is stated in the present war, has just returned from Belgium, where she has been for the past six weeks. You might reasonably expect a woman to has been living in a bombarded town to be suffering from nerves, but not so Mrs Creed. She is just as calm as if she had been for a holiday trip to the Continent.

“I got quite used to bombs,”she said. “In fact. I quite miss them now. At first they were terrifying, especially the noise. We all felt we couldn’t stand it. Then we didn’t seem to mind. The shells make a noise like a big mosquito buzzing through the air. You hear the buzz and wonder where it will land. I saw one come down about 20 yards ahead of me. It was terrible. The earth shook. I felt my legs melting from under me, and I fell straight down on the ground. As I lay there I saw a big building slowly drift down to the earth in the oddest way. The shell had gone right through the centre and the walls gently collapsed. I lay quite still for a while, for I could not move; then I got up and went back to the hotel. There I met Mr Lucien Jones, the correspondent of the ‘Daily Chronicle.” He was quite well, and said to me; ‘I’ve just seen a bomb.’I said . So have I, and we both found that we were trembling. But somehow I wasn’t really afraid.

When I first went over, I went straight from Ostend to Antwerp. Things were quite calm there, so I went on to Brussels. Then I went to an hotel where I stayed some years ago. It was closed, but the proprietor remembered me and took me in. They all loved the English there, and would do anything to help us. I stayed in Brussels for three days, but nothing very exciting happened; the people went about their work as usual, only everyone looked sad and dull. So I thought I would go back to Antwerp.

To be continued


World War I – Behind Enemy Lines – The Drummond Sisters – 30.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

After the sisters landed safely in England ‘Lute’ continued the sisters’ story of their life as the war continued.

This was written to her mother from London,

The New Year

9th January, 1915- Now let me tell you what in your wildest moments you would never guess. Jean and I have been taken for German spies by no less an authority than the great Scotland Yard! So it’s only a human institution after all, and is liable to make mistakes as the most stupid of us.

On New Year’s Day I was sitting at home trying to cure a most unromantic evil, namely, chilblains on my feet. Jean had been to Hilders, and as she returned after 7 o’clock we supped rather late. Just as we were finishing a ring came for us. Jean trotted down the stairs and opened wide the door to two strange men. They said “Police, Scotland Yard.” She said, “Oh, come up.” They came up and I asked them to sit down. Then they got to work. One drew out paper and pencil while the other’s eyes roved about our student -like room. The man with the notebook then opened his cross-examination. He said, “ Now, tell me about those little trips which you have made in England.” I thought of Miss Irving’s amazement,and couldn’t help laughing as she made the trips with us. However, I enumerated the various towns on our first trip, beginning with Cambridge and ending with Matlock. I had forgotten to mention Manchester, where we only slept the night, and the official remarked “I have a better memory than you. Haven’t you been at Manchester?” Then our Christmas trip was gone through, and great stress was laid on Hastings. What they thought we did there goodness only knows. But anyhow when I had finished our passports had to be rooted up out of obscurity, for Scotland Yard had us down as Germans in the pay of the Kaiser!It was so absurd that Jean and I had hysteries almost when they’d gone – Jean, the quintessence of anti-Germanism, and myself suffering from an overdose of patriotism that is almost painful. If anybody can make out of Ruth Janet Drummond and Jean Cameron Drummond, Anna Maria Schulz and Lisa Sottehen Muller, then they’re cleverer than the Creator Himself.

When the officials asked me if I had been in Yarmouth before or after the raid I gasped inwardly. Imagine how ludicrous to think even that a female like myself could lure the German fleet to our shores! The result of this suspicion is that never again will I ever believe these spy stories, not even if I see with my own eyes the most overwhelming circumstantial evidence. No doubt the whole world has lost not only its head, but its equilibrium, and we see not only Zeppelins in the heavens every night but Germans in Scotch-Australian bodies. The officials thanked us after the interview, and said they had visited thousands of houses, but never had more courtesy and clearer answers. One said, “I may come again” and wished us good night. We waited for several days and nobody turned up, so we went into Scotland Yard ourselves to see if the authorities were satisfied.

The head there was very nice, and said people were over-zealous, etc. I asked him who had lodged the complaint. He wouldn’t tell us, but said only that our movements were reported as suspicious. Evidently in our innocence we had been staring into the English Channel too hard or had watched the waves of the North Sea beat upon the open shores of Yarmouth. Oh dear, I really must write a book some day. We certainly have been mixed up in more ways than one in this great war. I forgot to tell you that the official remarked, “You speak perfect English.” But I have known many Germans who do the same. We were really very disgusted over the whole business. Just imagine Miss Irving and myself being followed everywhere, and then the three of us at Christmas time !

We have written to Miss Irving about it, and she is as much in the dark as were are over it. Really life is more comical and complicated every day, and I give it up. We only resumed our old routine yesterday, and visited the Davenports. They declare their house is being watched too. It seems to me that everybody who came from Berlin is a ‘suspect’. I believe the Davenports are going to Australia when they can get a boat- one has to wait months. They applied long ago, but think that either in February or March there will be some vacant berths.

To be continued

World War I – Behind Enemy Lines – The Drummond Sisters – 29.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

After the sisters landed safely in England ‘Lute’ continued the sisters’ story of their life as the war continued.

Dear Old England

The Crown Princess’s mother, the grand Duchess of Mecklenberg- Schwerin, has renounced her German nationality, and assumed her previous Russian character. This won’t annoy the Germans much as she never was allowed in Berlin, her reputation being not very enviable. Many Englishmen have volunteered for private constable duty. Sir Edward Elgar is one of these patriots whom one sees with an arm badge standing unconcernedly near the railway bridges.

Thursday, October 22nd– We’ve not done much this week. We’re waiting for the Allies to take Ostend, then we’ll have a ‘tangible’ something to go on. Mr Johnson’s son ( a member of the London C C ) celebrated his 21st birthday, and in honour of his manhood gave a party to many East Enders. We helped to make matters merry, Jean singing her patriotic song among Italian numbers, and I was literally forced into relating our Berlin experiences. My first experience of facing an audience – I was very embarrassed, and couldn’t think, though the people seemed to clap a good deal. So perhaps it sounded better off the point of the tongue than in the brain. A Belgian refugee from Antwerp also told his tale.

Today we paid our respects to the memory of Nelson and visited his monument in Trafalgar Square. We saw all the wreaths laid by loving hands round the pedestal, and were especially interested in the one placed near a big lion in memory of our lost submarine.

We met Mme Elsa Stralia (Elsie Fischer) in Oxford Street, and she and Jean exchanged operatic as well as J C Williamson reminiscences. She leaves on Saturday to tour South Africa.

Fancy! King Clark is dead! He had, after Jean de Reszke, the largest singing studio in the world. He died from sheer overwork. He was a wonderful teacher. Jean prized him beyond anyone. Alas, their last meetings were not friendly. However, that won’t affect eternity.

Monday, October 26th– It’s such a glorious day. We always seem to be lucky and strike pleasant views from our windows. Trees are dropping their leaves like golden rain in front of me, and autumn is even lovelier than spring. This is our back view. Sir henry Wood’s rear is our front lookout, so we’re in classical neighbourhood.

“Calais,” or rather, “to Calais” is still the all-absorbing thought, and we rise early to seize with avidity the “Daily Telegraph” and see what progress is being made. Poor old Queen Mary of 1558 fame ! This word cost her her life, and troubled her last moments on earth, pressing like lead on her heart. May her subjects of today be able to ease her oppressed breast and lighten her long sleep under the sod. A german submarine has been sunk, and some new ‘monitors’ seem to be causing a little sensation in the naval world. And even conservative papers are grateful to Winston Churchill for the purchase of these new types.

We had tea with Mrs Scott-Skirving on Saturday. She was in a great state about Mrs Waller. Had done everything to try and communicate with her in Berlin. But even the Foreign Office and Lord Chelmsford couldn’t help her. She was so relieved to hear from us that she was perfectly safe. Her second son, the doctor, is a lieutenant in the Royal Irish Fusiliers, and the eldest boy, who has just become engaged to Sir Edmund Barton’s daughter, has engaged in Sydney as a private.

We had quite a houseful on Friday. The Davenports, Miss Irving, Miss Hilder, and after supper Mr Kiley and his sister. It’s very plain but comfortable, our flat. We are very practical – have for a dining tablecloth white linoleum. We’re not keen on having every other day a washing day, and our friends don’t seem to mind.

On Sunday we motored round London calling for afternoon tea to Mrs Glynn-Jones. We’re invited also to supper there on Wednesday. It was pouring the whole time, and coming home was really dangerous and terrifying. London is practically for motoring pitch black on a dull day at 5 o’clock. We couldn’t distinguish anything in front of us. People looked grey shadows. The great motor buses carry a light which gives about as much illumination as a match, and where important railway centres are then there absolute darkness reigns. We were glad to reach the garage in safety. It will be an inspired aviator who drops a bomb on the right spot in London, for I defy a Londoner himself to know where he is after dark these impenetrable times. There are really some funny things in this war, particularly the children’s ideas of the Germans. Mrs Glynn- jones has a beautiful little boy, not more than five or six years of age. He asked me with great serious black eyes if we had a shark big enough in Australia to swallow the Kaiser?

Whom do you think found us out in London? Miss Howard, the suffragette. She is also here, saw our arrival in the British-Australasian. She spent a whole day searching for our address, and eventually obtained it at the Commonwealth offices. Now, how did they get it? More mysteries. Jean and I have started some knitted cuffs for Dude and Dick Irving.

Tuesday, October 27th – Miss Irving came to lunch yesterday. She told us that the Ophir struck a mine and had to put into the nearest port. Dr Scott-Skirving was a passenger, so he’s probably back in London again.

We were in the East End last night helping to entertain a Girls’ Guild. I played “Tipperary’ and ‘Your King and Country want you”, which they all sang with evident enjoyment. Then Jean, who was in particularly good voice, regaled them with opera arias. I was again asked for a little more Berlin news. I’ll soon be a dangerous speaker if I have much more practice. Another Australian, Miss Carrie Haase, a member of Granville Barker’s Company, recited beautifully. She did “The Day” splendidly. Do you know it? It is a poem written by a Bath railway man on the Kaiser, and is very terrible, very awe-inspiring- like a judgment.

Had a letter from Inez from Teneriffe. She had up till then no exciting adventures, only love affairs. She said they practically sail with no lights at all. They watched a British cruiser overhauling some passing boats . South Africa seems in for a very bad time indeed. The Germans went to work very cunningly there, didn’t they?

Wednesday, October 28th– So Beyers and De Wet have gone over to the enemy . Things will be made very difficult for Botha. There are rumours too that the Germans have invaded Angola, so Portugal is now dragged into the mighty conflict. The Germans have evacuated Ledz. They’re had possession of it almost since the outbreak of war. Prince Maurice of Battenberg has died from his wounds received whilst fighting on the Yser. This is our first Royal Prince to fall.

To be continued

World War I – Behind Enemy Lines – The Drummond Sisters – 28.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

After the sisters land safely in England ‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their life as the war continues.

More of Our Life in England

Men, more men, that’s what’s wanted. It’s no use writing open letters to Kitchener. What can he do? He’s not a magician to make a miraculous army in a couple of months. Without material the cleverest general in the world must be in difficulty. England should have had conscription from the 4th August; then today she would have four or five million men under arms. Portugal is supposed to be mobilising. Perhaps she could send along to France a good 50,000 trained soldiers, and also help in South Africa, where she has some nice colonies wedged between the German possessions.

Friday, October 16th– Yesterday we went round town with Mrs Davenport and Hilda. We met then at Trafalgar Square, where we waited and saw wounded soldiers coming in cars from Charing Cross. They looked very brown, and not at all bad. London looks more like Paris every day. One hears French everywhere – sees smart woman walking round, and one can’t help thinking “what a haul for anyone who could take London.” It’s a wonderful city – Berlin is only a village in comparison. It grips one right down into the bottom of the heart, and one repeats the lines of Elgar’s song quite prayerfully: “God who made thee mighty, make the mightier yet.”

Stricter rules are issued from the Admiralty about the lights, petroleum etc for the Zeppelin is really expected. But the people walk round unconcernedly in millions, the tops of the buses are still the coveted seats, and business goes on as usual in the crowded thoroughfare. Isn’t it curious that we who have lived so long amongst the Germans must now anticipate an attack from them? How we despise them! They do everything so dishonourably. Even the Emden flew the union Jack before she sank those merchant vessels, and if anything was more characteristic of the German character, than the Goeben and Breslau ingloriously selling themselves to Turkey, then I’d like to hear about it. Running into Turkish waters, chased by the little Gloucester, they hide there for weeks, now they flaunt themselves with inflated importance in the Black Sea, feeling a match for the Russian Fleet there! I’m pinning my faith still to Daniel’s Vision – where the British Empire corresponds to the stone in the image, for to dishonour and dirty tricks the sceptre of the world can never be given. I wish I were a man, I would enlist this very minute. So would Jean.

The war is very difficult to follow now. The Sphinx couldn’t be more uncommunicative than the French communiques. It’s fine. When we do have a big result- then I suppose General Joffre will open his otherwise silent lips.

We have got to the fire stage in our flat. It looks so cheerful, though really it’s not cold enough to sit round the open chimney place. It’s degrees colder on the Continent. But there’s a lot of work even in a small flat. We have no hot water laid on. Berlin is far ahead of London for material comforts. Newness has some advantages, especially in cities.

London looks more military daily, recruits marching and singing at every turn.

Sunday, October 18th – Yesterday was a day full of forebodings and expectancy. The news of the Hawke’s disaster, then the rumours of the loss of the ‘Terrible’ with 800 lives – in fact, about six Dreadnoughts were mentioned as having been sunk, mined or torpedoed.

The searchlights were scouring the heavens looking so uncanny, so portentous. Miss Irving and Hilda Davenport were with us, and talked of nothing but the war. When the news came late in the night that the ‘Undaunted’ had sunk four of the German destroyers we had no pleasure in the victory at all, as we could scarcely believe it. The disembarking of the Canadians at Plymouth must have been a stirring sight. I would loved to have seen it. The public is greatly agitated about 70,000 Germans being still at large in London alone. German waiters are everywhere. It strikes us as being very queer, to say the least of it, to have these men walking round in perfect liberty. The Government could easily intern them, treating them well, until the end of the war. The finding of concrete floors and roofs both here and in Edinburgh has made everyone on the alert. Perhaps we shall be able to use these carefully prepared cement platforms for our big guns, forestalling the Germans at their own game.

Mustn’t our navy be tired out with this continuous watching in the North Sea? Those submarines are a constant source of danger, and no German battleships around to attack in the open sea. One grows to love the sound of the word navy, and as for the sailors, who have dangers to meet from above, beneath and on the waters, well, they must all be heroes. It’s a terrible war, and God help everybody.

The composer of patriotic song called yesterday and heard jean sing it. She was quite excited and clapped frantically when the last rousing strains were ended. She said she never dreamt it was such a fine thing.

We saw an extract from a German paper yesterday announcing the various theatres that were and would not be opened this season. Barmen was among the number. Perhaps you’ve read that book of graves, :Confessions of the German Secret Service.” I think there’s a deal of truth, as well as much bluff in its pages. But if it does happen that this marvellous German war machine so consummately prepared and perfected, is defeated in the end, then aren’t human reckonings a poor kind of thing after all? The thoroughness of their detail, their systems, their technical knowledge, their unity, and last but not least their great guns, constitute a foe, formidable enough to defy the world, the flesh and the devil.

“To Calais,” is their cry, hoping then to blow across on the white cliffs of Dover and strike terror into the heart of the Briton. They love to bully the world, and always announce with great pomp their grandiose schemes in advance, such as the 6 ½ mile pontoon bridge which they are going to sling across the Channel for the heavy tread of their marching battalions who are coming to lay London low in the dust. When Antwerp fell, then it was announced that Admiral von Tirpitz would go there to direct gigantic naval operations. He went – and Captain Fox immediately sank the four destroyers. That’s a modest answer to braggadocio.

To be continued

World War I – Behind Enemy Lines – The Drummond Sisters – 27.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their life in England as the war continues.

Our Life in London

Friday, October 9th– The recruiting meeting last night was very interesting. We went first into town, dined at Piccadilly with the Kiley family, drove then in the car to the Liberal Club, where we picked up Mr Glynn-Jones. The Assembly Hall was packed, and on arriving outside we could hear ‘Tipperary’ being sung with great vim. A short musical programme preceded the speeches, Matheson Lang, the actor, reciting ‘Business as Usual’ very beautifully. Mr Masterman, Cabinet Minister: Sir Something Samuel, Conservative, and Will Crooks, Labour member, addressed the multitude. The last one is an oddity. With anything but Queen’s English, he succeeded in carrying his audience with him, and was by far the star performer. He was in Australia- an invited guest- and summed up the other members who visited our country thus:-”There were eight Liberals, eight Conservatives, three Lords anf me.”

Today we have the visit of a lady composer with a patriotic song “The Call.” She wants Jean to look at it. It’s the usual popular song with a chorus. Jean hasn’t done any English music now for six years, so she feels rather strange handling her mother tongue. But she must make a start.

We’re dreading every minute to hear that Antwerp has fallen. The snakes in the Zoo there were all killed yesterday, and today the fine specimens of lions were all shot. Isn’t this a curious war? Nothing escapes, whether man or beast. Even the animal creation, it also bears a part in the great destruction. Even the sharks round the island off New Zealand have joined the Allies, for we read where they are on guard there against the imprisoned Kaiser’s subjects, preventing their escape by swimming. Since our arrival in England, the papers have never once permitted themselves to be optimistic. We get bare lines, and very short sentences. The people certainly can’t complain of being misled. Bald statements face us every morning, out of which we try to derive comfort. The Russians are apparently retrieving their East Prussian disaster. I hope so. Belgium cries out to be revenged. Yesterday fresh refugees arrived from Antwerp. Their plight is pitiful. But the people here are so good to them as they certainly should be.

Sunday, October 11th– I had a letter from Mrs Scott-Skirving from Dublin yesterday. She is Miss Waller’s step-sister, and is anxious to hear about our experiences in Berlin. I’m to meet her when she returns to London.

Inez came in at lunch time with the news that Antwerp had fallen. The scenes must have been truly awful. Wounded crawling out of hospitals, insane let free, prisoners at large. Poor Belgium! And now the Germans declare that England’s turn comes. They are certainly very bombastic about their plans. I daresay if human efforts can get them here they’ll come, as London is the Mecca, not only of the War Party, but of the entire German people. “Set not your heart on anything in this world.” It certainly does feel queer here now. It is dangerous in the highest degree to go out after dusk, as this immense city lies enveloped in gloaming romantic and mysterious. To escape the dimly lighted vehicles, motors, buses, above all, bicycles, is a work of art, and Coroners are reporting an increase in accidents since the new regulations. But it’s a necessity, and the people must themselves exercise more care. It’s the least thing they can do. We decided to go to the Albert Hall after lunch to hear Clara Butt and Kennerley Rumford in a patriotic concert in aid of Queen Mary’s Funds, Twelve thousand people present, all enthusiastic, and much fainting in the standing places. We didn’t remain long. We had no seats, and a whole patriotic programme is too much to be digested at one meal.

We strolled through Hyde Park afterwards and saw more recruits being marched in all directions. Then we took a bus to the Strand Palace Hotel (Lyons’ famous no-tip establishment), and had afternoon tea with Inez. As we were leaving the searchlights were again searching the heavens for the cloud no bigger than a man’s hand.

After much excitement in the darkened streets and many questions, we ultimately got home, to find our landlord busy with a war map. We just heated about the advantages of Germany owning Antwerp as a naval or aerial basis, when Inez hurried in after us to come back into town as she would like to take us to the Palace as a farewell. We again began the wearying bus-catching, and after visiting in turn the Palace, Hippodrome, Empire and Alhambra- all sold out- we decided to go back to her hotel and eat a good dinner. We chose the grill room, where one could order a good steak. The hotel is full of silent Belgians, all staring into space- numbed, I think, with such an overwhelming disaster. I can’t be interested in anything but the war. Haven’t ears for anything else.

The people in England now feel that with the fall of Antwerp, possibilities, and unpleasant ones, are opened up. Who is going to stay the fury of the Germans? God alone- for man cannot hope to accomplish much against those guns which have blown all before them. The King of Romania died yesterday. He was a Hohenzollern Prince, and his wife, Carmen Sylvia, is also a German. I read some time ago that the present Queen- the most beautiful in Europe- has decided Russian sympathies. She was in Russia just before the outbreak of war, with her eldest son, now the Crown Prince, negotiating an alliance with one of the Czar’s much- coveted daughters. Perhaps this death may effect the war, particularly the Austrian side.

Monday, October 12th– We saw Inez off at Euston Station this morning. She sails from Liverpool at noon. She says she has terrible presentiments about this journey. I hope she gets across safely. She made me write a p.c. To her mother saying that she had left in case the boat never arrives. We’re certainly living in troubled times. Miss Davenport came to see us yesterday. She said that her mother was seriously contemplating going to Scotland, as, since the fall of Antwerp London is no longer safe.

We went into town, and saw crowds of Belgian refugees arriving at Charing Cross. We ache all over for them . They come always laden with parcels, bundles and children, all looking so bewildered and weary. We get lumps in our throats every time a fresh lot arrives.

London is feeling quite prepared for a Zeppelin attack. The people look more serious now. Fancy if a bomb, a petroleum one, dropped on London! Think of the conflagration! Miss Irving was here to lunch. She was feeling quite down in the dumps. The Germans appear to be taking everything, and they certainly mean to attempt a raid on England. The elements may help us, as it did the Armada in the days of Queen Bess. If we live through this war then shall we be pleased to have quiet days and calm pleasures for ever more.

Thursday, October 15th – We heard a rumour yesterday that makes one shudder. Prince Louis of Battenberg, head of our fleet is supposed to be all the time a German spy. Report says that he’s a prisoner in the Tower, and that Kitchner wants him shot. Poor old England ! She is far too honourable to deal with rogues that surround her.

To change our thoughts we went to a matinee of “Drake”. Prices being reduced, we got in for sixpence. Beerbohm Tree was “Drake” and Evelyn Millard a really splendid Queen Elizabeth.

The war news is very scanty, but it looks as if Russia is having some nasty knocks. The Germans are nearing Warsaw. There’s hardly a spot in Belgium free from the German intruder, but England and France are hanging on, though desperately.

To be continued

World War I – Behind Enemy Lines – The Drummond Sisters – 26

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their safe jouney to freedom and their life in England

Rescued and Safe

84 King Henry’s Road, London, N W

Tuesday, October 6th– We’ve been in a little flat since the 1st. So comfortable. It is the top storey of a nice house. We have a sitting room, kitchen and bath on one floor, and a bedroom in the attic. We pay 15s 6d a week. Of Course, it is furnished, and with a piano in one corner we feel as if we’d lived here all our lives. We’ve certainly seen a great deal of London in a few days, thanks to Mr Kiley’s car. It is always at our disposal. We have been introduced to his father and sister with whom we’ve had tea at the National Liberal Club. The member for Stepney, Mr Glynn-Jones, was also one of the party. The Club is a beautiful building, only a stone’s throw from the War Office. Wouldn’t I love to creep into Kitchener’s office and see how he’s facing the situation.

We’ve been out to dinners, afternoon teas, and Jean has again been interviewed; in fact, London is taking very kindly to us indeed. On the same floor in our flat is a family of Belgian refugees. Poor things! They have lost two of their children, aged seven and twelve. The mother has no idea whether they are living or dead – whether they are in Belgium or Germany. Mustn’t it be heart-breaking? There are thousands upon thousands of Belgian refugees in England. I have seen them arrive, sometimes carrying their boots in their hands, cloth bundles over their shoulders, tickets on them with their names, etc. It is pitiful. They are always met by our ambulance, Red Cross and private societies, and taken off to Alexandra Palace or other places of refuge. How must they feel? No home, no country, no anything. I can’t realize that they are fleeing from the Germans. The Germans, with whom we lived so long! I’m afraid Jean and I still have a kind of feeling that the Germans ought not to be able to terrify anybody. We perhaps under rate them. They seemed so lacking in general intelligence, according to our point of view. We certainly never came into contact with their war machine. Perhaps it works differently. If only Antwerp can hold out until the Allies push the Germans out of France. But, it’s sinister those big guns are in position before the forts. The papers are so different in England that we can’t adjust ourselves to the English view yet. We see everything with German eyes as it were.

Thursday, October 8th– I really regret that I’ve allowed so much time to slip by without filling in each day’s events. We’ve had so many interesting adventures which slip the memory in the hurry-scurry. Yesterday, however, will amuse you. Guess what we were doing? Being active members in a kino set of pictures for Australia. You will see us. It will be very funny for you. The series of views were taken of all the work and workers done by the N S Wales ladies resident in London. The gifts are for the base hospital in France. Miss Irving is one of the members, so we were invited to be partakers in this historic event. I’m sure i don’t know how we’ll look, as we had not more than five minutes to dress and titivate ourselves. The shirts, bedgowns, nightingales, in fact, everything made was not only useful but beautiful to look at, and so well finished and such splendid stuff. Most of the ladies in the group have husbands, brothers and sons at the front, or are otherwise engaged in works of charity. England is a wonderful land. So generous- so different to Germany. They help every nationality and take up their duties cheerfully as if loving your neighbour was the most natural thing in the world. As for our soldiers, nothing is good enough for them. It’s fine to see how the individual is looked after. He counts as much as the King. In Germany it was different. In one article which i read during our sojourn there, the writer said:” War was quite another question nowadays, as human life was so cheap.” On returning from our kino adventure, we were rejoiced to read where the same submarine which accounted for the Hela torpedoed a German destroyer.

Isn’t the battle on the Aisne lasting a long time? It doesn’t seem to effect the Huntley’s spirits. They wrote from Paris to Miss Irving and said:” Living was cheaper than ever, and they were so comfortable and confident now that the Germans were on the march homewards.” Today when we were out buying our lunch we saw such a pathetic street incident.A musician was playing a harmonium with his left hand and blowing a silver trumpet with his mouth and right hand (funny description) at the same time, giving quite a varied repertoire, including the National Anthems of our Allies, Tipperary, etc. A foreign gentleman and his wife walked by. He beckoned to the music maker and spoke in French. The humble musician didn’t understand, but he turned over the dirty leaves of the music until he found the Belgian National Anthem. Then he went back to his instruments on the footpath and started the spirited strains of this hymn. The gentleman drew himself erect, with his wife by his side, raised his hat and listened reverently until the last chord was played and blown. Jean and I felt like crying. It was so symbolic. One could almost see King Albert with his fine pride and courage. Belgium deserves to be the petted baby of Europe after this frightful war is finished. She’s suffering cruelly. It’s heartbreaking to read the details now of the bombardment of Antwerp. If Antwerp does fall then comes our turn , so the Germans say. They will then have a coastline and working basis for their airships and submarines.

Mr Kiley has just called. We’re having supper with his father and sister at Picca dilly and are then going afterwards to a recruiting meeting in the East End. Jean is cleaning our boots ready for this social function and is getting impatient.

To be continued