Asimple headstone to ''the Suffragette General'' will be placed on a grave in Kintyre this summer in a postscript to the life of an extraordinary woman. Flora Drummond was brought up on the west coast of Arran and ended her days across the Kilbrannan Sound in Carradale. In between, she devoted her

life to the cause of votes for women and, although her grave has remained unmarked for half a century, a painting of her hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

Her formidable powers of organisation made her Emmeline Pankhurst's right-hand woman, and effectively she ran the Women's Social and Political Union during the years of struggle for suffrage. As one of the most active leaders of the campaign, she was imprisoned nine times.

She was born Flora Gibson in Manchester in 1879 of Highland parents, but spent her childhood on Arran. Her first brush with the vagaries of the adult world resulted in a burning sense of injustice, thought to have been the spur to her suffragette commitment. She qualified to work as a post mistress, but the Post Office refused to employ her because, at just over 5ft, she was thought too short for counter work. That early discrimination continued to

rankle until her last days, according to Duncan Ritchie, who knew her in Carradale.

She married Joe Drummond in 1898 and went to Manchester, where they were among the earliest members of the Independent Labour Party and the Fabian Society. Flora said later that the experience of seeing women paid such low wages that they were forced to engage in prostitution in order to live prompted her involvement in the women's suffrage movement. Elizabeth Crawford, author of The Women's Suffrage Movement, suggests this may have been a later gloss on the reality that she was forced to take low-paid work (in textile factories) to make ends meet on the many occasions when Joe, an upholsterer, was out of work.

It seems likely that she was working in a typewriter factory in Manchester when she joined the Women's Social and Political Union, and for two years she devoted all her spare time to secretarial and organisational work for the WSPU.

However, it was only after moving to London early in 1906 that she became a nationally prominent figure. On March 9, along with Irene Miller and Annie Kenney, she led a demonstration to Downing Street where they repeatedly knocked on the door of No 10. Although the police were called, a sympathetic Henry Campbell Bannerman insisted no charge was made, but from then it was only a matter of time before her first prison sentence. It was served at the end of 1906 after she was arrested inside the House of Commons.

By this time, she had acquired the nickname ''General'' Drummond from riding at the head of processions sporting epaulettes and a peaked cap. However, she had not only become a ''character'' but a speaker of note and it was her voice which boomed through a megaphone from a launch on the Thames urging MPs on

the House of Commons Terrace to attend a WSPU rally in Hyde Park.

with Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst in October 1908, she was charged with incitement to ''rush the House of Commons'', as advertised on a WSPU handbill, and sentenced to three months' imprisonment, but was discharged after nine days when it was discovered she was pregnant. The son she later gave birth to was named to honour her socialist principles: Keir Hardie Drummond.

When Joe left her to go to Australia, she returned to Glasgow and organised the WSPU in the city during the 1910 general election and then the Women's Exhibition before returning to London and taking overall charge of local WSPU organisations throughout the country.

Her final arrest was in May 1914 and, released under the Cat and Mouse Act, she went to Arran to recuperate but returned to London on the outbreak of war. Since the offer of her services to London County Council as a tram driver was rejected as crazy, her work for women's suffrage continued unabated. She campaigned for Christabel Pankhurst, who stood as a candidate in Smethwick at the 1918 general election.

Her political stance took an astonishing U-turn and she co-founded the Women's Guild of Empire which led the ''Great Prosperity March'' in London to demand an end to the industrial unrest that was about to culminate in the General Strike.

She was married for the second time in 1924 to Alan Simpson, a Glasgow engineer who was also her cousin. He was killed in an air raid in 1944, which also destroyed their London flat, and Flora then moved to Carradale, where she had relatives, possibly also spurred by a desire to return to childhood haunts.

Duncan Ritchie, who remembers her as ''a wee, dumpy woman'', recalls that she regularly spoke at meetings in the hall and was very kind to children. She remained a feisty character right up until her sudden fatal heart attack. Her plan to build a cottage was

thwarted by the council and so she lived in a hut made from abandoned timber and sheets of corrugated iron next to her relatives' house, Duncrannog. They took her in when she became ill and she died there in 1949.

There are increasingly few who remember her, but local people, including a former provost of Campbeltown, Duncan MacMillan, writer Hamish Mackinven, and Mr Ritchie, have gathered funds for a headstone which is expected to be in place in Brackley Cemetery within the next few weeks.

The simple inscription will read:

Flora Drummond 1879 - 1949 The

Suffragette ''General''.