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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Niland

Birthplace: Tonawanda, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: J.

Date of Birth: 1919

Date of Death: 06 June 1944

Rank: Technical Sergeant

Years Served:
Robert J. Niland
'Bob the Beast'

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Robert J. Niland
Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army

Robert J. Niland was born in 1919 in Tonawanda, NY.

Robert 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.

TSGT 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.

Unknown to Robert, his brother, Second Lieutenant Preston T. Niland (Honoree Record ID 2905) was nearby. He was serving with Company C, First Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division near Utah Beach and near the fortresses at Azeville and Crisbecq, France. Preston Niland was killed in action the day after his brother, on D-Day plus 1; 7 June 1944.

Steven Spielberg's film "Saving Private Ryan" is loosely-based on the brothers' story.

Death and Burial

Technical Sergeant Robert J. Niland was killed in action on 6 June 1944.

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

Honoree ID: 2906   Created by: MHOH




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