"The ship, Royal Daffodil, was launched in 1939, the third ship to carry that name. The first was a Mersey ferry built in 1906 as Daffodil and taken over by the Royal Navy during World War I, playing a key role in the Zeebrugge Raid of 1918. She was subsequently granted the Royalprefix by King George V for her war service. In 1936, the General Steam Navigation Company of London replaced her with a larger vessel, which her owners named Royal Daffodil.
The ship commenced her service on April 28, 1939, with a sailing to Calais. However, upon the outbreak of World War II, in September, 1939, she was quickly requisitioned by the Sea Transport Department of the Board of Trade.
Initially the Royal Daffodil was used for the evacuation of some 4,000 women and children from London and Thames Estuary to East Anglia. But from September 15, 1939, Royal Daffodil was used to carry troops of the British Expeditionary Force(BEF) from Southampton to Cherbourg, continuing on this duty until October that year.
On May 23, Royal Daffodil, along with the passenger steamer Archangel, carried troops of the 30th Brigade to Calais. She was one of the ships that took part in Operation Dynamo, the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940. She rescued 9,500 men in seven trips. On June 2, 1940, a bomb passed straight through her and exploded under her. The explosion caused a hole in the starboard side, and the Master ordered everyone to port side, which raised the hole out of the water and enabled a temporary patch of mattresses and wood to be applied. Royal Daffodil made it safely to Ramsgate and disembarked the evacuees. Later she was sailed to Deptford under her own power for permanent repairs, and for the remainder of the war, Royal Daffodil ran between Stranraer and Larne, carrying military personnel.
During her wartime service, Royal Daffodil was estimated to have carried almost 2,444,000 service personnel and covered some 170,000 NauticalMiles (310,000 kilometers or 200,000 miles).
This Gallant vessel, that we owe so much to, is also the namesake of one of the chapters in Colorado. The royal Daffodil Chapter meets the third Saturday of the month at 12pm, noon in member’s homes or at a restaurant. Members come from Arvada, Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Centennial, Denver, Lakewood and Littleton areas.
"Though we manage to conduct business at our monthly meetings, we laugh an awful lot! And we enjoy a lovely buffet of homemade sweets and savories, along with tea and sherry, at every meeting. We’re rather food driven. Twice a year we go on a lunch outing, in the summer and in January, as a belated Christmas celebration. Friends, spouses and significant others are always welcome at these events at various restaurants around town.
I’ve made true friends through Royal Daffodil.” - Lois, Lakewood
"Our ladies are mainly of a mature age (years not actions) and our hearts go out to supporting animal charities. I like that we meet on Saturday during the noon hour and that our husbands are invited to accompany us and enjoy our lunch with us before our business meeting. Our meetings are rambunctious, but we manage to cover the necessary information." Kathy, Arvada
1. Before the name Royal Daffodil, the chapter was named Canberra, after the capitol of Australia. When membership waned, the remaining members renamed the chapter Royal Daffodil and began recruiting new members.
2. The Royal Daffodils fondly call themselves “the Daffies.”
3. About 10 years ago, our member Betty Thompson, being one of the senior stateswomen of the Colorado DBE, was asked to dress as Queen Victoria for the annual Victorian Tea. She was provided with a hoop skirt to wear and Betty commented on how she understood why women wore long pantaloons under their skirts, she was freezing under her skirt!