In the morning of April Sunday the 8th a SAS (Special Air Service – British Special Forces) unit moves to their chosen objective, the bridge and the lock at the “Oranjekanaal” near Orvelte.
The unit is one of many that have been dropped of over the province of Drenthe (the Netherlands) by parachute that night to sabotage or capture strategic important targets for the Allied advance as part of “Operation Amherst”. A total of 702 French paratroopers of the 2nd and 3rd “Régiment de Chausseurs Parachutistes” of the SAS are dropped behind enemy lines.
Thanks to the early morning fog, the paratroopers manage to approach the bridge very close, while the 8 German guards there confuse the approaching men with their relief replacements. They engage in a close firefight with wounded on both sides. Eventually two of the German guards are killed and the rest of them surrender.
Unfortunately a large group of German soldiers is stationed in a nearby farm and is alarmed by the shooting. The Germans perform a counter attack and the SAS men take up a defensive position at the flax factory building, situated between the bridge and the lock along the channel. During these events Antoine Treis is killed, supposedly trying to break out of their position.
The picture above shows the lock the SAS men had to take during Operation Amherst. The bridge lies a short distance further down the corner of the channel.
The Antoine Treis memorial is under the good care of the current owner of the flax factory building and can be found on the brick wall facing the road on the north-side of the channel. It used to be on the other side of the building, but was moved here around 2010 so it would be visible from the road.