The Netherlands / Monument
The monument was erected in memory of the estimated 66 British soldiers of the Lock Force who were killed (24), wounded (30) or missing (12) in action between early December 1944 and late February 1945.
Although British troops had liberated the area on the western bank of the river Meuse in North and Central Limburg around the beginning of December 1944, the lock island of Osen near Heel, which is also located west of the Meuse, remained in German hands until the end of February 1945. This was due to local geographic conditions. The Meuse makes a wide bend between Linne and Roermond, also known as the Lus van Linne (“Loop of Linne”). In connection with the canalisation of the Meuse, the meander was cut off in the 1920s and a lock and weir were constructed. From a strategic point of view, it was much more efficient for the German defenders to defend the short lock canal than the kilometres-long Meuse bend, with the result that the British encountered stiff resistance precisely here. Nevertheless, the lockhouses were captured at the beginning of December 1944. While the Germans were no more than a 'canal width' away, a so-called lock force took the newly acquired position. In such situation, troops could only be relieved after dark. That stalemate did not change until 26 February 1945, when German troops were finally ousted from their small, mine-strewn bridgehead.
One of the lockhouses at Sluisweg 4/5 has been preserved. Traces of the battle can still be seen in the wall. In the post-war years, the environment of the lock island has changed beyond recognition due to gravel extraction and the digging of the Lateraal Canal.