Early in the morning of Friday, 10 May 1940, the German army invaded the Netherlands. After crossing the River IJssel at Westervoort, the German troops advanced via Arnhem and Ede towards the Grebbe Line, the Dutch line of fortifications to the west of Ede.
The 4th Regiment of Hussars (soldiers mounted on horses or bicycles) was ordered to delay the German advance between Arnhem and Ede, buying time for their comrades to prepare the main defence along the Grebbe Line. The regiment of hussars needed to withdraw to behind the Grebbe line with as few casualties as possible, where they would be redeployed.
Four motorised hussars formed the regiment’s rearguard, with this little group under the command of Kornet (junior officer) Graaf van Limburg Stirum. Their task was to protect the regiment’s withdrawal, and to this end, they took up position on the upper floor of Zuid-Ginkel Inn.
On the afternoon of Friday, 10 May, a heavily armed motorised SS formation suddenly emerged from the woods, travelling on state highway 24 (now the N224 main road). It was a reconnaissance unit of SS Regiment Der Führer. The group of Dutch hussars immediately opened fire on the Germans with their light machine gun, whereupon the Germans turned around quickly and disappeared back into the woods.
After a while, the kornet decided to withdraw in line with his orders. But then German motorcyclists unexpectedly appeared from the Wijde Veldweg road, riding alongside the sheep pen towards the inn. These German troops had approached under cover of the line of trees along the sheep meadow, heading for the sheep pen. This time the kornet himself fired with the light machine gun once again, so that his men could make their escape. Then, he ran out of ammunition, and he was forced to surrender. He descended to the ground floor, where the Germans shot him suddenly at the front door. Two of his men, Corporal Bonkerk and Hussar Dijkers, suffered the same fate at the side door of the inn.
The fourth man, Hussar Kuperus, was hidden inside the building by innkeeper Kramer. A short time later, the surroundings of the inn came under Dutch artillery fire and the Germans withdrew towards Planken Wambuis. This gave Hussar Kuperus the opportunity to escape. Wearing civilian clothes and riding a borrowed bicycle, he was able to reach friendly lines along Kreelseweg.
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Foto: Zuid Ginkel inn along Rijksweg 24 (National Road 24).
Source: Gemeentearchief Ede
The picture above shows photos of (from left to right) corporal P. Ch. Bonkerk, cornet C.E. Graaf van Limburg Stirum and hussar J.G. Dijkers. When they fell at Zuid Ginkel inn on the 10th of May 1940, they were the first victims to fall during the Second World War on the territtory of the municipality of Ede by the hands of the Germans. Source: Stichting Erfgoed Ede.