Victoria Alexandrina Drummond ~ Marine Engineer


Victoria Alexandrina Drummond (1894-1978) – Marine Engineer. Raised in Megginch Castle, Perthshire and named after her godmother Queen Victoria, Victoria Drummond grew up to be the first female member of the Institute of Marine Engineers. World War I gave Victoria Drummond the opportunity to pursue a career in engineering. Her first engineering apprenticeship was in 1916. By 1922, she was tenth Engineer on the SS Anchises (Blue Funnel Line). After five voyages (Australia and China), Victoria Drummond left to study and attain a Second Engineer’s accreditation. Entrenched sexist attitudes within the maritime industry operated against Victoria Drummond throughout her career. Thirty-seven attempts to gain accreditation as a Chief Engineer all ended in failure. Undaunted, she managed to obtain a Panamanian Chief Engineer’s certificate.

During the Second World War, she operated within the Merchant Navy – Second Engineer. Victoria Drummond was involved in the rescue of Allied troops from Marseille. As an engineer aboard the SS Bonita, Victoria Drummond crossed the Atlantic several times and when bombers attacked her ship and the engine room badly damaged, she took charge of the situation and kept the ship’s engines running. This action saved the ship and she was awarded an MBE and a Lloyds’ war medal for bravery. The near sinking of the SS Bonita did not deter her and Victoria Drummond worked on several ships for the duration of the war crossing the Atlantic and on convoys to the Soviet Union – coming under fire on more than one occasion. 

The war over, Victoria Drummond returned to Scotland. She found employment in the ship building industry and on various cargo ships. The period 1952-57 saw her again as a Second Engineer and finally from 1959 until 1962, she was a Chief Engineer. 

Victoria Drummond died in 1978 and is buried at Megginch Castle.