The Netherlands / Audiospot
On September 17, 1944, paratroopers from the American 501st Parachute Regiment come down near this castle. But during the drop, they land at the wrong castle. Their drop zone is six kilometres away near Veghel. They have to secure the bridges there as soon as possible. Thanks to this mistake, the people of Heeswijk are introduced to an extraordinary priest, Father Sampson.
On September 17 1944, the first battalion of the American 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment missed the drop zone. The paratroopers jumped too late and landed at Heeswijk Castle.
The chaplain of the regiment, Father Sampson, was there too. He landed unfortunately in the castle moat. Immediately after landing, the battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Harry Kinnard advanced towards Veghel to capture the bridges there. Father Sampson was left behind in the castle with a group of 46 men and helped set up a First Aid post. He went to find transport for the injured. When he and two horse-drawn carts with Dutch drivers returned to the castle, the Germans had recaptured it.
During Operation Market Garden, Heeswijk-Dinther remained in the front line. The villagers lived between hope and fear. Sometimes the Americans appeared, then the Germans returned. The area was only finally liberated in late October 1944.
Kasteel 1, Heeswijk-Dinther