112. The cold-blooded gardener
On September 19, the Germans launch a counterattack from Nuenen against the British, who are advancing towards Arnhem. The Germans are searching for roads to reach Eindhoven and Son and so, somewhere, they have cross the River Dommel. One option is this bridge. They send a reconnaissance unit with 5 half-tracked vehicles to see if the bridge can bear the weight of the German tanks. But they encounter the gardener, Willem Hikspoors.
On September 19 1944, the German 107th Panzer Brigade was deployed from Nuenen to launch a counterattack on Eindhoven and Son. The advancing British XXXth Corps had to be stopped. The German tanks had therefore to cross the River Dommel. They sent reconnaissance units to assess the possible crossings.
At this bridge, German reconnaissance units encountered Willem Hikspoors. Willem was a gardener on the Soeterbeek estate and had immediately realised what the Germans were planning. He managed to convince them the bridge would not hold. Moreover, with his performance, he saved the son of the estate owner, who was being held by the Germans as a spy. For his cool-blooded act, Willem received a medal and, in 1984, the bridge was named after him.
Soeterbeekseweg at Willemhikspoorburg.
GPS code: 51° 28' 8.2914"N 5° 30' 35.5674"O