Victoria Drummond


Marine Engineer

 Victoria Alexandrina Drummond MBE, was the first woman marine engineer in Britain and first woman member of Institute of Marine Engineers.

Victoria Drummond was born on 14 October 1894 at Errol, Perth and Kinross, Scotland.

From 1916 to 1918, she was an apprentice at the Northern Garage, Perth. And then from 1918 to 1922 at the Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Dundee. She joined the Blue Funnel Line's SS Anchises in 1922 as Tenth Engineer. After completing four voyages to Australia and one to China, she began study for her second engineer's qualification.

In a career lasting 40 years she sailed on 49 voyages, which took her from her all around the World. She continued her career through hardship and discrimination, carrying out the physically gruelling work of the engine room as well as supervising a sometimes reluctant and prejudiced work force.

On 25 August 1940 Drummond was serving aboard SS Bonita, sailing for America with a cargo of china clay, when the ship was attacked by German bombers in the Atlantic, 400 miles from land. Drummond ordered the engine-room crew out, then remained alone at her post, keeping the engines running at full power in spite of damage from the bombardment. Her courage was recognised when she was awarded the Order of the British Empire and the Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery at Sea Her MBE was awarded by George VI in July 1941.

In 1941, she was again under attack by Luftwaffe aircraft when serving on SS Czikos, one crewman was killed and two injured. She subsequently completed a return transatlantic convoy crossing on Manchester Liners' SS Manchester Port, in which many other vessels were lost. After making several coastal voyages, she sailed around the World on Blue Funnel's TSS Perseus. In 1944 she joined the Baltic Trading Company's oil tanker MT Karabagh, on which she served when in a convoy to Russia and later in the Invasion of Normandy.

After the war, she superintended the building of ships in Scotland and continued to serve aboard ships as second engineer. From 1959 until her retirement in 1962, she served as Chief Engineer, the first British woman to do so.

After the deaths of her sisters in 1974, she moved to the St. George's Retreat, Burgess Hill, Sussex. She died there on Christmas Day 1978. She is buried at Megginch Castle beside her parents and sisters.


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