Niland brothers

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The Niland brothers; from left to right: Edward, Preston, Robert, and Frederick

The Niland brothers were four American brothers of Irish descent from Tonawanda, New York, who served in the military during World War II. Two survived the war, but for a time, only one, Frederick "Fritz" Niland, was believed to have survived. After the reported deaths of his three brothers, Fritz 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 1998 film Saving Private Ryan is loosely based on the brothers' story.[1]



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.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mark Bando (2001). 101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles at Normandy. Zenith Imprint. pp. 153–155. ISBN 1610606914.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Niland Boys". Canisius College. July 2006. Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  3. ^ "Tonawanda Flier Freed from Japs" (PDF). Buffalo Courier Express. 1945-05-05. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-22. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  4. ^ "400 Prisoners in Crossfire Aided by Native: Tonawanda Lad Freed by British in Burma" (PDF). Buffalo Courier Express. 1945-05-08. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-22. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  5. ^ "Francis L. Sampson (1912-1996)". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2008-08-09.