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Subject: ARCHIVE: June 6, 1944 ~Technical Sergeant Robert Niland, one of four brothers from Towanda, New York who served in the U.S Army during WWII, their true story was loosely based in the 1998 film, “Saving Private Ryan”, when Bob was KIA on D-day, as well as brother Preston the next day, soon after their storming the beaches of Normandy. A third brother Ed, believe killed weeks earlier in South Pacific, later turned up alive. ..

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Date Posted: Thursday, June 06, 11:40:19pm


World War II United States Army Soldier, and one of four brothers from Towanda, New York who served in the United States Army during World War II, their true story was the loose basis for the acclaimed 1998 motion picture “Saving Private Ryan” by director Steven Spielberg.

Technical Sergeant Bob Niland, D Company, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, was killed in action during the Allied Forces D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. It was believed later that two other of the siblings had been casualties, so the fourth sibling, Sergeant Frederick "Fritz" Niland of the 501st Parachute Infantry regiment, was sent home to the United States to avoid further loss to the family. Their brother, Second Lieutenant Preston Niland of the 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, was killed near Utah Beach at Normandy, France on June 7, 1944.

Technical Sergeant Bob Niland and Lieutenant Preston Niland lie side-by-side in
the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial near Colleville-sur-Mer, France. …

Brothers …

=Technical Sergeant Edward Niland (December 22, 1912 – February 1984), U.S. Army Air Forces: Imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp in Burma, he was captured on May 16, 1944, and liberated on May 4, 1945. Edward had parachuted from his B-25 Mitchell and wandered the jungles of Burma before being captured. He was held as a prisoner for a year before being liberated in May 1945. Edward lived in Tonawanda until his death in 1984 at the age of 71. In D-Day June 6, 1944, Ambrose incorrectly states that Edward died in Burma.

=Second Lieutenant Preston Niland (1915–June 7, 1944), 29, 22nd Infantry Regiment,
4th Infantry Division, was killed in action on June 7, 1944, in Normandy, near Utah Beach.

=Technical Sergeant Robert "Bob" Niland (1919–June 6, 1944), 25, D Company, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division was killed in action on June 6, 1944 in Normandy. He volunteered to stay behind with two other men and hold off a German advance while his company retreated from Neuville-au-Plain. He was killed while manning his machine gun; the other two men survived.

=Sergeant Frederick "Fritz" Niland (April 23, 1920 – December 1, 1983), H Company, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division: Fritz was close friends with Warren Muck and Donald Malarkey, from E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Fritz fought through the first few days of the Normandy campaign. Several days following D-Day, Fritz had gone to the 82nd Airborne Division to see his brother, Bob. Once he arrived at division, he was informed that Bob had been killed on D-Day. Fritz was shipped back to England, and finally, to the U.S., where he served as an MP in New York until the completion of the war. Fritz was awarded a Bronze Star for his service. This story is evidenced in Stephen Ambrose's book Band of Brothers, as well as from biographical data on Sampson. Private James Ryan in the film Saving Private Ryan is loosely based on him. Fritz died in 1983 in San Francisco at the age of 63.

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ARCHIVE: June 7, 1944 ~Brother Preston 'Pete' Niland, 28, was killed 75 years ago today -D-Day+1, shot in the head by a sniper inland, northwest of Utah Beach (where he had landed), much is unknown of Pete because most of the records at the National Archives and Records Administration located in St. Louis, Mo. were lost in a fire on July 12, 1973. ~RIP ...Bio & PHOTOSFriday, June 07, 11:18:04am

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