The Netherlands / Monument

Panheel Lock Plaque




The plaque offered by residents of Heel and Panheel was unveiled on 10 September 1996 by the English veteran Jim Allen who was involved in the capture of the lock on 14 November 1944.

The plaque commemorates the fierce battle that men of the British Queen's Royal Regiment fought in the capture of the lock at Panheel on 14 November 1944. The undamaged capture of the lock was conditional to making operation “Nutcracker” a success. Phase one of this British offensive involved a crossing of the Wessem-Nederweert Canal, which had been the front line since the end of September 1944. If this succeeded, an important step would have been taken towards the ultimate goal: the expulsion of the German troops from their bridgehead on the western bank of the river Meuse in North and Central Limburg. Possession of the lock, which was situated at the beginning of the canal, was essential. Whoever possessed the complex could control the water level in the Wessem-Nederweert canal. Due to the rather steep banks, a crossing with amphibious vehicles was only possible if the water was at a normal level. Although fierce fighting broke out here and there afterwards, both the damage-free capture of the lock and the continuation of Operation Nutcracker went according to plan. Between 14 November and the beginning of December, the German army was driven off the western bank of the Meuse.