Among the characters who change their names are Dunstable Ramsay, who becomes Dunstan, and Percy Boyd Staunton, who simplifies his name to Boy Staunton.
Dunstable Ramsay feels himself a different person after an act of heroism during World War I. He responds to the idea of changing his name because he believes it will bring freedom along with “a new personality.” A saint’s name would connote a miracle. It is Diana Marfleet who suggests Dunstan, after a saint who
was a marvellous person and very much like you — mad about learning, terribly stiff and stern and scowly, and an absolute wizard at withstanding temptation.
Percy Boyd Staunton chooses to become Boy Staunton. He thinks that “Boy” evokes literary heroes and an association with youth. Later in life, the name comes to seem childish, but he keeps it in part because of its association with the success he finds in business.
Childe Rowland and Childe Harold were so called because they epitomized romance and gentle birth, he was Boy Staunton because he summed up in himself so much of the glory of youth….