Picture from the Evening Star – 15th February 1943.

Pieter is not remembered on the war memorial at Christchurch Park


Born: 29th May 1919, North Brabant, The Netherlands.

Died: 8th February 1943; age: 24; killed on a photograph reconnaissance mission off Holland.

Residence: ‘Brabant’ Sproughton, Suffolk.

Pieter received his commission as an officer in the Royal Air Force – he was Station at RAF Benson, South Oxfordshire from the 28th July 1940, with 541 Squadron.


Rank: Squadron Leader/Pilot; Service Number: 40190.

Regiment: Royal Air Force, 541 Squadron.


Memorial Reference:

Panel 292.

Runnymede Memorial,

Englefield Green,



Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Mr. & Mrs. P.H.J. van der Heijden.


Brother to John Peter Marie van der Heijden.


Father: Pieter Hendrik John van der Heijden, born November 1886, Oudenbosch, North Brabant, The Netherlands – died 1949, ‘Brabant’, Sproughton, Suffolk. Superintendent – Beet Sugar Factory.

Mother: (Nelly) Cornelia Fredericka van der Heijden (nee Augustijn), born March 1891.


Pieter was educated at Northgate School, Ipswich, where he obtained his final certificates and his Rugby colours.


On the 19th March 1937, Pieter and his father & siblings (originally from the Netherlands) took British Nationality. They were listed in the London Gazette on the 6th April 1937.

Pieter Hendrik Johan van der Heijden, a Manager; residence – Sproughton Road, Sproughton.


Johan Pieter Marie van der Heijden.

Maria Dymphina Cornelia van der Heijden, born June 1920.

Pieter Henrik Johan van der Heijden.

Pieter Robert Maire van der Heijden.


Probate to Pieter Hendrick Johan van der Heijden – father, of ‘Brabant’ Sproughton, Suffolk. A works manager.


Both Pieter & John are remembered on the war memorial at All Saint’s Church, Sproughton, Suffolk, and on his brother & parent’s headstone at Ipswich New Cemetery.


Evening Star 13th February 1943



Squadron-Leader P.R.M. Van Der Heijden of Sproughton


It has been officially reported that Squadron Leader P.R.M. van der Heijden, aged 24, second son of Mr. and Mrs. van der Heijden, of Brabant, Sproughton, is missing from air operations.

Squadron Leader van der Heijden was born in Holland and educated there and later at the Northgate School, where he obtained his final school certificate and his Rugby colours.

He was an enthusiastic member of the St. Pancras Boy Scouts, and was well-known in sports circles. He became a Chief Squire of the Squires’ Section of the Knights of St. Columba, and did his utmost to forward this youth movement in East Anglia.

In October, 1937, he received his commission as an officer in the Royal Air Force, and was later posted to a fighting squadron in Egypt, where he was badly wounded during a fight with Italian ‘planes. He returned to England in 1941.


8th February 1943

Aircraft: Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk IV; serial number: BP881; code: ES-B. The Spitfire took-off from R.A.F. Benson, South Oxfordshire at 10:30hrs, on a photograph reconnaissance mission to Rotterdam. At 11:45hrs, 15km west-northwest of Hoek van Holland the aircraft was shot down by an Focke-Wulf 190 A-4, the 6th victory for Oberfeldwebel Georg Hütter, of the 5th Staffel, Jagdgeschwader 1 unit, who had taken off from Woensdrecht airfield between the villages of Woensdrecht and Huijbergen, North Brabant, Netherlands.


Oberfeldwebel Georg Hütter an experienced pilot, with 14 victories of Soviet and Allied aircraft was KiA on the 26th December 1944, providing support to the German Army in the Bastogne area of Belgium.





  • Both brothers are commemorated on the village memorial in Sproughton Church

    • Interesting they lived at Brabant, Sproughton Road. I was born there and then we moved to the larger factory house, Sunny View, next door. It was built for the General Manager. Mum always told me Sunny View used to be a base for Dutch airmen. She may have been confused with these guys. I wish I knew who lived in Sunny View at the time. As a kid, I used to imagine their ghosts were up in the attic. The beet factory was originally Dutch owned and managed.

  • Interesting to see they lived at Brabant, Sproughton Road. I was born in that house in 1956. There was an Anderson bomb shelter in the garden. We then moved to the larger neighboring house Sunny View. Mum always told me Sunnyview had been a base for Dutch airmen during WWII. This is the first time I’ve come across anything to indicate she may have been right. They were both sugar factory manager’s houses and, of course, the beet factory was originally Dutch owned and the management were Dutch.


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