Soldier Spotlight: Sapper Chester Ronning

Image: Lyman Rorem and Chester Ronning, students studying in their dorm room, ca. 1925 (SPRA 2009.082.47, Fonds 355)

Regimental Number: 3213454; 272562
Rank: Sapper
Branch: Canadian Engineers; Royal Air Force

Chester was born in Fancheng, China on December 13, 1894 to missionary parents Halvor and Hannah Ronning. After Hannah died in 1907, Halvor came to Alberta with his young family. In 1911, Halvor married Gunhild Horte. Chester filed on a homestead at SE 12-74-10-W6 in 1913. He was drafted into the Canadian Army in June of 1918, but in September of 1918 was discharged in order to enlist in the RAF. Chester married Inga Marie Horte in 1918; they had six children. In the early 1920s, after receiving his Master of Arts degree, Chester returned to China as a missionary. For some years, he was president of Camrose Lutheran College. Chester also spent some years working in politics, serving in diplomatic posts in China, Norway, and India. During World War II, he served in the Canadian Intelligence Service. Chester died on December 31, 1984.

Sources: surname database; Pioneers of the Peace p. 257; Pioneer Round Up p. 685; The Remarkable Chester Ronning: Proud Son of China; Wikipedia

Note: the National Film Board of Canada produced a film about Chester A. Ronning

Chester Ronning, ca. 1910 (SPRA 2009.082.63, Fonds 355)

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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