The Stönner-Meijwaard Bridge

By naming this bridge after them, Oirschot commemorates two young men who were fighting with the Princess Irene Brigade against the Germans in this area in 1944. Rinus Stönner and Willem Meijwaard lost their lives here at the front line. They were two of the many soldiers who gave up their lives for the liberation of the Netherlands.

Four days after the start of Operation Market Garden on 17 September 1944, Oirschot found itself in the front line. While the Anglo-American attack from Son was stuck at Best, the British units were able to advance in the Kempen towards Tilburg. This made the Wilhelmina Canal the front line between the Germans and the Allies.

A Dutch unit was also serving in the Second British Army: the Princess Irene Brigade. This unit was made up of conscripted Dutch citizens from overseas and volunteers. Rinus Stönner had lived in Canada since 1931 and had to sign up for military service in 1942, together with his brother. He was assigned to the first battle group of the Royal Dutch Princess Irene Brigade. Corporal Willem Meijwaard was a volunteer with the Marine Corps. A hundred marines joined the Princess Irene Brigade in April 1944.

They were both killed while fighting the German troops who were entrenched in Oirschot. This bridge across the Wilhelmina Canal, which was built in 2020, is named in honour of them. Oirschot was liberated on 24 October 1944.