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Rooney, Felix

Rooney, Felix

Alias: None

Title: Mr

Dates: 1885-1965

Nationality: British, New Zealand

Awards: None

Felix Rooney was born in Glasgow in 1885. He joined the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-09 (Nimrod) at the age of 21 as fireman, signing on in Poplar on 26 June 1907 and signing off in June 1908. His stepfather, Hugh McGowan, was third engineer on board Nimrod.

Rooney's wife had grown tired of waiting for him in Glasgow, and sold the house and moved to Lyttelton, New Zealand, to meet him. After the expedition the couple remained there, and Rooney worked on trans-Tasmanian coastal ships, including the Cygnet and John Anderson.

In World War I, Rooney served with the 1st Canterbury Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. Rooney survived the Gallipoli campaign, was wounded at Armentières, but carried on fighting on the Western Front until the end of the war. After the war, he went back to the Merchant Navy and joined the Union Ship Company where he stayed for 24 years until his retirement in 1946. He died in 1965, aged 80.

Rooney's correspondence during the expedition is held at the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch in New Zealand and his descendants there have clear memories of 'a paperweight at home, which was a stone from Mount Erebus'.


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