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First Name: Preston

Last Name: Niland

Birthplace: Tonawanda, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: T.

Date of Birth: 1915

Date of Death: 07 June 1944

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served:
Preston T. Niland

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Preston T. Niland
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army

Preston T. Niland was born in 1915 at Tonawanda, NY. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 31 March 1941, prior to the war, in Buffalo, NY.

Preston was one of the four Niland brothers from Tonawanda, NY, 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 (Honoree Record ID 221008), had survived.

At the time he was killed in action, Preston was serving with Company C, First Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division near Utah Beach and near the fortresses at Azeville and Crisbecq, France.

Robert Niland was serving with Company D, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. On D-day, 6 June 1944, he landed on the beach at Normandy. He volunteered to stay behind with 2 other men and hold off a German advance while his company retreated from Neuville-au-Plain in the Canton of Sainte-Mère-Église. He was killed while manning his machine gun; the other two men survived.

Sergeant Frederick "Fritz" Niland was born in 1920, and was serving with Company H, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Frederick was sent back to the U.S. 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.

Death and Burial

Second Lieutenant Preston T. Niland was killed in action on D-day plus 1, 7 June 1944.

Preston and Robert are buried, side-by-side, at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

Honoree ID: 2905   Created by: MHOH




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