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FLORA DRUMMOND "The General"

SUFFRAGETTE
Following a stroke at the age of 70, Flora McKinnon Drummond, aka "The General" of suffragette fame, died in the east
Kintyre village of Carradale in 1949 and was buried in the village cemetery at Brackley, her grave then lying unmarked until
the Spring of 2001, the readers of Carradale's monthly 'Antler' newsletter subscribing to a memorial headstone.

Flora McKinnon Drummond aka The General (née Gibson, later Simpson, 1879 - January 17, 1949) was a British
suffragette who was born in Manchester but raised in the west coast village of Pirnmill on the Isle of Arran, directly across
Kilbrannan Sound from her final resting place.

On leaving school Flora moved to Glasgow to take a business training course. She had passed the qualifications to become
a post-mistress but, standing at just 5 feet 2inches tall, she was refused a post as she did not meet the new minimum height
requirement.

Marrying Joseph Drummond, she moved back to the town of her birth and along with her husband became active in The
Fabian Society and The Independent Labour Party.

Flora, who had attended a Liberal Party election meeting at The Free Trade Hall in Manchester and witnessed the arrests of
Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney, they then imprisoned for pressing the candidate, Winston Churchill, to answer
the question 'If you are elected, will you do your best to make Women's Suffrage a government measure ?' was herself
persuaded to join the movement when the two women were released from custody and The Women's Social and Political
Union (WSPU) held a celebratory rally in Manchester in 1906.

Shortly afterwards Flora moved to London and, before the year was out, she too found herself arrested for slipping inside
the open door of No 10 Downing Street whilst her companion Irene Miller was being arrested for simply knocking on the
door itself, Flora then sent to prison in Holloway after being arrested inside The House of Commons.

Flora was to become well known for her daring and headline-grabbing stunts, including the occasion in 1908 when she
hired a boat so that she could approach The Palace of Westminster from the River Thames in order to harangue The
Members of Parliament sitting on the riverside terrace.

Flora Drummond, an accomplished and inspiring orator who had a reputation for being able to put down hecklers with
ease, was a key organiser of the Trafalgar Square rally in October 1908 which led to a three month term in Holloway along
with Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst for "incitement to rush the House of Commons".

The women had been given the option of being bound over to keep the peace for twelve months instead of a custodial
sentence but all three opted for Holloway.

Flora was in the first trimester of pregnancy when she was imprisoned and after fainting and being taken to the hospital
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wing she was granted early release on the grounds of ill-health.

As Flora was leaving the prison Emmeline Pankhurst broke the "silence rule" which forbade the suffragette prisoners from
speaking to each other and called out 'I am glad because now you will be able to carry on the work'.

An organiser for The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), Flora was imprisoned nine times for her activism in the
women's suffrage movement and her main political activity was in the organising and leading rallies, marches and
demonstrations, she nicknamed "The General" for her habit of leading the women's rights marches wearing a military style
uniform 'with an officers cap and epaulettes' and riding on a large horse.

In October 1909 Drummond was the organiser of the first militant procession in Edinburgh as a response to a critical
comment from the WSPU leadership in their newsletter 'Votes for Women' which said 'Beautiful, haughty, dignified, stern
Edinburgh, with your cautious steadfast people, you have not yet woken up to take part in our militant methods'.

The theme of the march was 'have done and can do and will do' and featured women carrying banners and playing
bagpipes dressed either in their working clothes or as female historical Scottish figures. Tens of thousands turned out on to
the streets of Edinburgh to watch the parade and the event was considered by the 'Edinburgh Evening Dispatch' to have
been a success.

Drummond's terms in prison, including several hunger strikes took a physical toll on her and in 1914 she spent some time
on Arran to recover her health and, after her return to London on the outbreak of The First World War, she concentrated
her efforts on public speaking and administration rather than direct action thus avoiding further arrest and, remaining
prominent within the movement and, she was a pall-bearer at the funeral of Emmeline Pankhurst in 1928.

Flora and Joseph Drummond divorced in 1922 and later that year she married a cousin, Alan Simpson, he killed during an
air-raid in 1944 and Flora moving to Carradale, just across The Kilbrannan Sound from the Arran village of Pirnmill where
she'd spent many happy days in earlier years.

In 1949, following a stroke at the age of 70, was buried in the village cemetery at Brackley, her grave then lying unmarked
until the Spring of 2001, the readers of Carradale's monthly 'Antler' newsletter subscribing to a memorial headstone.
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