Joe’s Bridge is the name of the notorious bridge number 9 across the Bocholt-Herentals canal in Lommel-Barrier. This bridge played a crucial role in Operation Market Garden during the Second World War and today is the starting point of the Airbornepad Market Garden.
On 10 September 1944 the Irish Guards, under the command of John Ormsby Evelyn Vandeleur, conquered bridge 9 from the Germans. In tribute to this strategic surprise attack, the British renamed the bridge with their commander’s initials: J.O.E. Exactly one week later, on 17 September, Joe’s Bridge was the springboard for one of the most famous military operations of the Second World War: Operation Market Garden. In other words, British Field Marshal Montgomery’s daring plan to conquer a number of bridges over the major Dutch rivers, with a large-scale airborne assault (Market) and a ground offensive from Belgium (Garden).
Joe’s Bridge was rebuilt after the war and has been the starting point of the Airborne Market Gardenhiking path since the Liberation celebrations in 2004. A memorial stone laid at Barrierspark commemorates the events of 10 September 1944.