Niland, Preston T, born 1915, in Tonawanda, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, nickname “Iron Horse” . He was killed in action on June 7, 1944 in Normandy, near Utah Beach. 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
and Donald Malarkey, from Company E, 506th
Parachute Infantry Regiment
Airborne Division (“Easy Company”), 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
Death and burial ground of Niland, Preston T.
Fritz died of a heart attack in 1983 in San Francisco at the age of 63. Preston is buried next to his brother Robert
on the war cemetery of Coleville sur Mere, France.