July 11, 2023

Image: Bezanson Town Site, 1920 (SPRA 2001.01.123)

Rank: Private
Service No: M/105982 Regiment/Service: Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, R.C.I.C.
Died: August 12, 1944
Commemorated at: Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, France

Donald (Bud) Joseph Rooney was born on July 23, 1923 at the family homestead in an area of Bezanson known as Lindsay where the Rooneys operated a store and the Smoky River Post Office. In 1926, the family moved to the main road that provided service to Grande Prairie, Alberta where they built a large building utilizing the logs from the Presbyterian Church located at the Bezanson Townsite. The new building housed a store and the Bezanson Post Office in the front with living accommodations in the rear. The area later became the Hamlet of Bezanson. Donald received his education at the one-room Lindsay School where he was involved in sports. While Donald attended school, he also worked as a clerk in the store at Bezanson and also the family-owned store at Crooked Creek, Alberta. Donald answered the call of duty to Country and enlisted in Edmonton on January 12, 1943. He served with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, Royal Canadian Infantry Corp as a Private during the Second World War. Donald received basic training in Edmonton and Calgary following which he embarked for England on July 16, 1943. While there, he successfully completed a Shoemaker “C” course in March 1944. Donald was transferred to France on July 25, 1944 where he joined the forces embroiled in battles during the Normandy Campaign. Caen had just been secured and the Canadians were ordered to push forward towards Falaise. It was during this offensive on August 12th that Private Donald Joseph Rooney was wounded and succumbed to his injuries the same day. Donald is commemorated at the Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, France.

Son of Patrick Grover Rooney and Lucie Mary (nee Baker) Rooney of Bezanson, Alberta; brother of Ilene (nee Rooney) Duffy, Marie Ellen (nee Rooney) Moss, Dorothy Agnes (nee Rooney) Rasmussen, Virginia Jean (nee Rooney) Duffy, Bruce Leo Rooney, Mona Lucie (nee Rooney) Fazan, Constance Theresa (nee Rooney) Yochim; he was 21 years old.

Citations: 1939-45 Star, France-Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Clasp.

Written by Wanda Zenner
January 2019

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

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