Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

"I'd be far better off doing war work of some sort. Thousands of women do. Why not me? I'm no use at anything else, apart from driving and riding and things like that. I'm not like Elizabeth Baguley–the domestic life is just not right for me. Or rather, I'm not right for it. So what am I right for?"
—Daffy Rowntree[3]

Daphne "Daffy" Rowntree (born c. 1898) was eldest child of Mrs and Charles Rowntree, and older sibling of Archie, Freddie, and May. Her father was killed in the Great War and Archie enlisted a few months later. Daffy desired to do something for the war effort and learned about the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) from her aunt Leonora. She left for France in mid-1917.


Early life[]

Daffy was born in or around 1898[2] to Mrs and Charles Rowntree. She had three younger siblings Archie, Freddie, and May. Daffy was closest in age to Archie and they grew up running around their family's small estate. When war broke out, Daffy's father went to fight in France.

World War I[]

After Christmas of 1916, Daffy and her family received word that her father was injured. A few days later, they learned that he had died. Archie came home from school for the funeral. Daffy and her mother were both unsure on how to take care of the family's estate. She consulted Archie whom suggesting talking to their uncle Cecil. He hired an estate manager for them. Archie returned home again after finishing up school in February. Daffy, in the meantime, tried to take up "war work." She was hopeless at knitting and subsequently regulated to bandage rolling. Archie later her how to drive their father's motorcar. In April, Archie, having turned eighteen, left to join the war as a cavalryman.

Daffy considered going to work at a munitions factory, which her uncle thought "unseemly." He instead suggested she talk to his wife Leonora who introduced her to the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY). As Daffy was training, she received word that Archie was missing in action. After a month of learning nothing, her mother pushed her to join the FANY. Daffy left her mother in the care of her great aunt Eloise. In France, Daffy learned the ropes of her FANY camp from Meldrew. She went on her first drive with Jolliphant to deliver "comforts," such as socks, to the soldiers. Daffy soon settled into a routine and also made friends with the others. In late September, she returned home for a two week leave.

In late October, Daffy drove an officer, Charles Wensley-Croft, to the hospital. They instantly took a liking to each other. Daffy visited him a couple times between preparations for the camp's concert. She was devastated when she thought he already had a sweetheart and did not go back to see him. In late November, while on a drive with Westerling, Daffy saved a messenger dog from a German soldier whom then shot her in the leg. She was sent home to continue healing. After ignoring Charles's letters, he came to visit her. He cleared up the misunderstanding, revealing the supposed sweetheart was actually his sister. Charles then stayed to meet her family.

Personality and traits[]

Daffy was either considered a "tomboy" or odd by those who lived in the village near her home. She disliked typical feminine pursuits, such as embroidery, and would rather go outside to walk her dog Billie or ride her horse Honeycomb. Coming from a priveleged background, Daffy was unaware of a lot of things considered common to others. Despite this, Daffy never thought of herself as being better than other people and was willing to do any task when she joined the FANY. Additionally, she was a terrible singer but still sung in the church choir because she loved to sing.

Family tree[]

The Rowntree Family Tree
Charles Rowntree
(d. 1916)
Mrs Rowntree
Cecil Armstrong
Leonora Armstrong
Daphne Rowntree
(b. 1898)
Archibald Rowntree
Freddie Rowntree
May Rowntree
Roberta Armstrong

Behind the scenes[]



  1. Road to War, Valerie Wilding, page 10
  2. 2.0 2.1 Daffy's birthday and age are not stated in the book, but on page eleven it was stated that she was a "little older" than her brother Archie. As he was eighteen, it can be assumed that she was at least nineteen.
  3. Road to War, Valerie Wilding, page 55

See also[]

My Story characters
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Violet Debuchy

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