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Road-to-War2

Daffy as she appears on the cover of the second edition

All of the characters that appear in Road to War.

Main characters[]

Daffy Rowntree[]

Main article: Daphne Rowntree

Daphne[1] Rowntree (born c. 1898),[2] also known as Daffy or Daffers, was the oldest child of Mrs and Charles Rowntree. She had three younger siblings, Archie, Freddie, and May. Daffy was closest to Archie, whom was closest to her age. Her family was well-off and lived on a relatively small estate in the country outside of London. Daffy's father was killed in the war in late 1916, which upended the family's lives. From then on, she searched for a way to contribute to the war effort. Daffy eventually settled on joining the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), for which she could use her driving skills. She shipped out to France, where she felt she had finally found somewhere to belong.

Supporting characters[]

Archie Rowntree[]

Archibald[1] "Archie" Rowntree (1899[3] – missing June 1917)[4] was the second child and first son of Mrs and Charles Rowntree. He was the favorite brother of his older sister Daffy. Throughout their childhood and adolescence, they ran around the village together. Following their father's death, Archie started to treat Daffy differently, acting more like the man of the house and not talking to her about some things. After he finished up his schooling and turned eighteen, Archie decided to fight in the war as a cavalrymen with his horse, Firebrand. In June 1917, he and Firebrand went missing. Daffy held on to some hope, but eventually came to the realization that Archie was likely dead.

Cecil and Leonora Armstrong[]

Cecil and Leonora Armstrong[5] were the parents of Roberta, and Daffy's aunt and uncle. They lived in London, where Cecil worked for the government and Leonora volunteered for the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY). Following his broth-in-law's death, Cecil helped his sister with her family's estate by hiring a manager. Cecil was often concerned about what was "proper." For example, he forbade Daffy from working at an ammunitions factory and instead encouraged her to find out about the FANY from his wife. Daffy came to stay with them and Leonora helped her join the FANY. When Charles Wensley-Croft came to London looking for Daffy, Leonora directed him to her home in the country.

Charles Wensley-Croft[]

Captain Charles Wensley-Croft was an Army captain fighting in France during the Great War. He had a much younger sister named Mabel, whom he saved from drowning when she was two. During the war in October 1917, Charles's hands were injured. He chose to recuperate at a nearby hospital, where he was driven to by Daffy. Charles grew to care for Daffy during her visits. He returned to the front without saying goodbye, but left a note promising to visit. After Daffy was injured, he went to England to see her as she had not replied to any of his letters. Charles finally obtained her address and explained the misunderstanding Daffy had had about Mabel. The two officially became sweethearts.

Eloise[]

Eloise was Daffy's great aunt though she and everyone else always referred to her as just "Aunt Eloise." She was a kind woman whom people almost instantly took a liking to. Eloise had a home in Essex, but felt it was too close to the coast where German planes often came to drop bombs. In April 1917, she decided to come to the Rowntrees home for an extended stay. She looked after Mrs Rowntree, whom had been acting strange since her husband's death. Eloise often took her out to socialize with other people, feeling she was always cooped up in her studio. While Daffy was away in France, Eloise's care helped Mrs Rowntree recover significantly. Daffy hoped that Eloise would agree to stay permanently.

Jolliphant and Meldrew[]

Meldrew (born August 30)[6] and Jolliphant were two of Daffy's friends in the FANY. Both had been with the FANY for a while. When Daffy first came to France, Meldrew explained a lot of the FANY duties to her. Jolliphant was the one who took Daffy on her first drive in the ambulance to take "comforts" to the troops. Daffy later confided in Jolliphant when she thought Charles had a wife or fiancée. Meldrew organized a concert with the others girls, which took place on November 17, 1917. She was kind about Daffy's lack of singing skills and allowed her to perform in the concert. In December, when Daffy was ordered back to England, Meldrew and Jolliphant among others went to see her off.

Mrs Rowntree[]

Mrs Rowntree ("Mimi"; née Armstrong)[5] was the mother of Daffy, Archie, Freddie, and May. When she was young, she had a fall that injured her right hand which never healed quite right but helped her find a talent for painting. While married, Mrs Rowntree left all the estate affairs to her husband. After his death, she was unable to take care of the estate on her own. At the same time, her mental health went downhill. Those around her became worried as she started painting nothing but fairies, which actually turned out to be popular when she sent them off to an art gallery. After Archie went missing in action, Mrs Rowntree asked Daffy to look for him when she joined the FANY in France. By the time Daffy returned home, her mental health had greatly improved.

Minor characters[]

  • Lady Baguley was the mother of Elizabeth. She disapproved of Daffy Rowntree, calling her a "tomboy" though not to her face at least.
  • Billie was Daffy's pet Airedale. She was extremely fond of him, calling him the "nicest, most polite dog, and so handsome." While Daffy was away, he became close to Aunt Eloise.
  • Mr Boone was the estate manager hired by Cecil Armstrong.
  • "Boss" was the FANY officer in charge of Daffy's section whom was just called "Boss."
  • Charles Rowntree ("Papa;" died late 1916)[7] was the father of Daffy, Archie, Freddie, and May. He joined the armed forces and was injured while fighting in France. After he passed away, his wife and children had to learn how to take care of the estate themselves.
  • Sergeant Corbett was the section leader of Daffy's FANY group. Daffy described her as being "very friendly" and that she "only [got] bossy when someone [was] slacking."
  • David Lloyd George was the Prime Minister of England whom replaced Asquith.
  • Mrs Effingham-Jones was a woman who lived in the village and did a lot of volunteering. She invited Daffy to the village's knitting group. However, since Daffy did poorly at the task, she invited her to the bandage rolling group instead.
  • Elsie was a maid working at the Rowntrees' estate whom usually tended to Daffy. She was relieved when Daffy returned from France as she liked working for her better.
  • Elizabeth Baguley was the daughter of Lady Baguley. She was nice and friendly to Daffy but it never came to be a real friendship. Unlike Daffy, she was very "domestic."
  • Eric was a man from the Red Cross whom Daffy drove to the front along with supplies.
  • Firebrand (died June 1917)[8] was Archie's horse whom he took with him to war. After Archie went missing, Firebrand's body was found. His legs were injured badly and he had been shot, indicating that someone had put him "out of his misery."
  • Foxglove was Elizabeth's new bay mare. Daffy described her as having the "gentlest temperament."
  • Freddie and May Rowntree were the younger siblings of Daffy and Charlie. They were close in age and spent most of their time together or with other children their age.
  • Gulliver was the ill-tempered goat living at the Rowntrees' stable.
  • Mrs Hallibert was the head housekeeper of the Rowntrees' household. Daffy often went to her for help with running the estate after her father died.
  • Hawkins was the man whom looked after the horses at the Rowntrees' estate. After Troggs left, he asked Daffy for permission to find a stable hand himself.
  • Honeycomb was Daffy's horse whom she was extremely fond of and took for rides almost daily. At the stable, she was looked after by Hawkins.
  • John Wetherby was the brother of Violet. Daffy described him as being "nice, but not awfully bright."
  • Lalu and Polan were two fairies made up by Mrs Rowntree. She painted them in her paintings and her referring to them as if they were real worried those around her.
  • Mabel Wensley-Croft (born c. 1909)[9] was the younger sister of Charles. When she was two, Charles saves Mabel from drowning.
  • Merriwether was an orderly whom helped the cook at the FANY camp. Like Meldrew, she helped explain a lot of things to Daffy when she first came.
  • Nigel was an Army officer whom Westerling gave a ride the night Daffy was shot by a German. He ended up knocking out the German. Some days later, Nigel and Westerling visited Daffy at the hospital to explain that she had saved a messenger dog.
  • Reggie was a cousin of Elizabeth. His family lived in London but he spent a lot of time at his cousin's place. He walked with a limp since he had leg that was shorter than the other. Reggie liked Daffy romantically, but she took little notice of him beyond common courtesy.
  • Roberta "Bobby" Armstrong[5] was the only daughter of Cecil and Leonora. Daffy described her as being "dull" when she was younger, but had changed a lot by the time she was a young woman. Bobby was a strong believer in women's rights and often attended rallies where she would make speeches. She encouraged Daffy to do what ever she wanted to do. Bobby also sported a bob.
  • Mrs Rose was the Rowntrees' cook. She was kept busy, making several meals and snacks everyday.
  • Miss Rowan was the governess for Freddie and May whom looked after theme daily.
  • Sleepy Suzanne was a local French woman who was a crossing-keeper near the railroad. She was nicknamed "Sleepy" by the FANYs as she always appeared to have just woken up.
  • Sutton was a FANY who Daffy met on the ship to France. She had a brother in the Army.
  • Troggs was a former stable hand for the Rowntrees. He wanted to fight for England like his ancestors had done, but was unable to due to missing a big toe and going blind in one eye. Instead he decided to leave the Rowntrees to work at an ammunition factory.
  • Violet Wetherby was the sister of John. She and Archie were sweethearts, before he left to fight in the war. Violet was devastated when he went missing and was presumably dead.
  • Westerling was one of Daffy's friends in the FANY. One night, she and Daffy were driving back from delivering supplies when she picked Nigel. When Nigel noticed Daffy had disappeared, they turned back and helped Daffy after she was shot by a German. Westerling later drove Daffy to the boat back to England.

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Road to War, Valerie Wilding, page 10
  2. Daffy's birthday and age are not stated, 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 26, 47
  4. Road to War, Valerie Wilding, pages 73-74
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Road to War, Valerie Wilding, page 69
  6. Road to War, Valerie Wilding, page 116
  7. Road to War, Valerie Wilding, page 5
  8. Road to War, Valerie Wilding, page 79
  9. Road to War, Valerie Wilding, page 173

See also[]


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