Niland, Preston T.

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Niland, Preston T, born 1915, in Tonawanda, 22nd Infantry Regiment , 4th Infantry Division, nickname “Iron Horse” and motto “Deeds, Not Words” under the command of Major General Raymond Oscar Barton

 Barton, Raymond Oscar "Tubby". . The casualties of the 4th Division during the European campaign: Total battle casualties: 22,660, killed in action: 4,097, wounded in action: 17,371, missing in action: 461, prisoner of war: 731, days of combat: 299. 

 Preston was killed in action on June 7, 1944, age 29, in Normandy, near Utah Beach at the Crisbecq Battery. The Niland brothers were four American brothers from Tonawanda, New York, serving in the military during World War II. Of the four, two survived the war, but for a time it was believed that only one, Frederick “Fritz” Niland, had survived. Frederick was sent back to the United States to complete his service and only later learned that his brother Edward, missing and presumed dead, was actually captive in a Japanese POW camp in Burma. Steven Spielberg’s film Saving Private Ryan is loosely based on the brothers’ story. Sergeant Frederick “Fritz” Niland born 1920, Company H, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment , 101st Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles”  . Fritz was close friends with Warren Muck

    Donald_Malarkey_Easy_506PIR  and Donald Malarkey, from Company E, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment , 101st  Airborne Division (“Easy Company”) under command of General Maxwell Taylor, who were both featured prominently in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. Frederick “Fritz” Niland  fought with the 501st  through the first few days of the Normandy campaign. Several days following D-Day, Fritz had gone to the 82nd Airborne Division, “All Americans”  to see his brother, Bob. Casualties of the 82nd Airborne Division during the European campaign, 1.619 killed in action, 6.560 wounded in action and 332 died of wounds. Once he arrived at division, he was informed that Bob had been killed on D-Day . With the help of Father Sampson 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 Father Francis Leon Sampson “Flying Padre”
    Ike Eitreim  .
Two sisters also were in the family: Clarissa Marie Niland (15-02-1910 / 25-01-1996). Clarissa was the oldest of the six Niland siblings, and as typical during the time, played a strong role in raising her younger siblings. The loss of her brothers was devastating to her and greatly affected her. She became a nurse at the local DeGraff Memorial Hospital and was well-liked by all who met her. While she never married or had children of her own, she was affectionately known as “Aunt Clarie” by many, and shared stories of her brothers and family until her passing in 1996. The other sister was Margaret Niland (1916–1986). Margaret married Stuart McRae and had one son, Ronald Michael, and one daughter, Margot Jeannine

Death and burial ground of Niland, Preston T.

Fritz”Privat Ryan” died of a heart attack on 01-12-1983 in San Francisco at the age of 63. Preston is buried next to his brother Robert, who was killed while manning his machine gun; the other two men survived, on the war cemetery of Coleville sur Mere, France.
Two sisters also were in the family: Clarissa Marie Niland (February 15, 1910 – January 25, 1996). Clarissa was the oldest of the six Niland siblings, and as typical during the time, played a strong role in raising her younger siblings. The loss of her brothers was devastating to her and greatly affected her. She became a nurse at the local DeGraff Memorial Hospital and was well-liked by all who met her. While she never married or had children of her own, she was affectionately known as “Aunt Clarie” by many, and shared stories of her brothers and family until her passing in 1996.Margaret Niland (1916–1986). Margaret married Stuart McRae and had one son, Ronald Michael, and one daughter, Margot Jeannine.
More luck had the family of the Finnish immigrants Mathilda and Jacob Thompson. Raising 14 children on a farm in Carlton County USA, and nine of their 11 sons served during World War II. All survived and this photo was taken in Moose Lake in the spring of 1946, after all the Thompson brothers returned save home, a miracle ?
    

 

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