In Remembrance: University of Manitoba alumni at Normandy
Living here in Manitoba in relative safety and security in 2019, we join in the commemoration of the noble and selfless actions of 150,000 Allied troops who landed at Normandy on D-Day seventy five years ago, turning the tide of the Second World War. Among these brave souls were 14,000 Canadians, many of whom were Manitobans with connections to the University of Manitoba. More than 1,000 Canadian troops did not come home, including the following courageous individuals.
Flight Lieutenant Errol H. W. Treleaven of Elm Creek, Manitoba, attended what was then known as Normal School (teacher’s college) in 1934. The following year, he taught at the one-room Hollywood School near Langruth. In 1936 he studied at Wesley College for one year then transferred to the University of Manitoba and graduated in 1938 with a BA degree. A posting in early 1944 found Treleaven overseas and after further training, was assigned to No. 416 Squadron on a Spitfire to take part in the Battle of Normandy. He lost his life in an air battle over Arnhem, Holland. He died September 25, 1944, at the age of 29 and is commemorated at Old Leusden General Cemetery in Amersfoort, Holland. Treleaven Lake (64 O/7), north of Munroe Lake was named after him in 1975.
Lieutenant Lawrence Cohen of Winnipeg attended Machray and St. John’s High School and the University of Manitoba in the Arts and Science Faculty where he majored in Economics. He enrolled in the Canadian Officer’s Training Corps (COTC). In 1943, he enlisted and took further officer training in Gordon Head, British Columbia, Camp Shilo in Manitoba and Camp Borden, Ontario. He then went overseas, joining the British Army, 2nd Royal Warwickshire Regiment where there was a shortage of officers, through the CanLoan Program. His regiment was shipped from England to Normandy shortly after D-Day. He died July 8, 1944, at the age of 22 and is commemorated at Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, France. Cohen Lake (64 I/9), northeast of North Knife Lake was named after him in 1974.
Lieutenant Donald Leach Riesberry, born February 20, 1914, studied history and political science at Brandon University during the depression. As a summer job, he built the stone walls around Riding Mountain National Park. He later studied history under noted local historian W. L. Morton at the University of Manitoba and was one of his top students. In Dr. Morton’s book The Kingdom of Canada, the dedication reads: “For D. R., Normandy, 1944.” Riesberry died on October 11, 1944, at the age of 30 and is commemorated at the Adegem Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium. Riesberry Lake (64 I/2), east of North Knife Lake was named after him in 1974.
Lieutenant Fleming Ladd of Winnipeg was one of four boy scouts chosen to represent the province at the reception at the Parliament Buildings during the time of the royal visit to Canada, 1939. He was the leader of a cub pack at St. George’s Church. Born in Winnipeg, he attended Queenston, Robert H. Smith, and Kelvin schools and had completed two years in the Faculty of Science at the University of Manitoba where he joined the Canadian Officer’s Training Corps (COTC). Irving enlisted in October, 1942, received his training at Gordon Head and Camp Borden and went overseas in May, 1943, with the 1st Hussar Tank Regiment. He died on D-Day, June 6, 1944, at the age of 21, and is commemorated at Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Calvados, France. Irving Lake (53 E/16), north of Island Lake was named after him in 1961.