John Drummond

John Drummond on the left.

John Drummond was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1882.  He worked aboard ships in the British Isles and in 1922 emigrated to Canada with his family aboard the CPOS liner VICTORIAN.  The family settled in Vancouver where John Drummond began an illustrious career with Canadian Pacific Steamships in 1926 when he signed Articles of Agreement to join the EMPRESS OF ASIA.  John served aboard the EMPRESS OF ASIA continuously from this date to the loss of the ship at Singapore in 1942.John Drummond painting the "Empress of Asia" in his quarters

John Drummond became Senior Sanitary Engineer, a prominent position, where he was responsible for maintaining the labyrinth of pipes and equipment that moved cold, hot and waste water.

While the EMPRESS OF ASIA burned off Sultan Shoal, John Drummond worked with a fire party in a vain effort to extinguish the flames.

John was removed from the EMPRESS OF ASIA by the sloop HMAS YARRA and taken to Singapore.  At Singapore he joined a group of EMPRESS OF ASIA survivors who had been provided with the HONG KWONG, a small freighter owned by the Straits Steamship Company and given an opportunity to escape the surrendering city.  John Drummond worked with other engineers to raise steam, start the engine and to keep the HONG KWONG under way on as it steamed towards Java.


In spite of bombing attacks the HONG KWONG safely arrived at Batavia in Java on February 15th, 1942.  From Batavia, John and fellow crewmembers that had arrived safely in Batavia joined the JALARATNA and sailed to Ceylon.  The group left the JALARATNA in Ceylon and took the ferry to the Indian mainland where they travelled by train to Bombay.  After spending several days in Bombay the party sailed on the STRATHNAVAR for South Africa on MARCH 14th, 1942.  From Cape Town the group boarded the QUEEN MARY and sailed to New York where they travelled by train across the North American continent arriving in Vancouver during May of 1942.

Subsequently John Drummond returned to sea, sailing aboard several Park ships including the CONNAUGHT PARK on the Atlantic.

John Drummond is remembered as a loyal, diligent and genial individual and conscientious sailor in the highest standards of the Merchant Navy.

The EMPRESS OF ASIA Research Group is deeply indebted to the Drummond family for providing interviews and for making documents and photographs available.

John Drummond and wife, Laura Tait    Bill Drummond. John's son, in 2005

See more John Drummond pictures in the Photo Gallery!

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