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.
- Sergeant Frederick "Fritz" Niland (April 23, 1920 – December 1, 1983), H Company, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division: Fritz was close friends with Warren Muck and Donald Malarkey, from E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Fritz fought through the first few days of the Normandy campaign. Several days following D-Day, Fritz had gone to the 82nd Airborne Division to see his brother, Bob. Once he arrived at division, he was informed that Bob had been killed on D-Day. 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 Sampson. Private James Ryan in the film Saving Private Ryan is loosely based on him. Fritz died in 1983 in San Francisco at the age of 63.
- Technical Sergeant Robert "Bob" Niland (1919–June 6, 1944), 25, D Company, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division was killed in action on June 6, 1944 in Normandy. He volunteered to stay behind with two other men and hold off a German advance while his company retreated from Neuville-au-Plain. He was killed while manning his machine gun; the other two men survived.
- Second Lieutenant Preston Niland (1915–June 7, 1944), 29, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, was killed in action on June 7, 1944, in Normandy, near Utah Beach.
- Technical Sergeant Edward Niland (December 22, 1912 – February 1984), U.S. Army Air Forces: Imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp in Burma, he was captured on May 16, 1944, and liberated on May 4, 1945. Edward had parachuted from his B-25 Mitchell and wandered the jungles of Burma before being captured. He was held as a prisoner for a year before being liberated in May 1945. Edward lived in Tonawanda until his death in 1984 at the age of 71. In D-Day June 6, 1944, Ambrose incorrectly states that Edward died in Burma.
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.
- Bixby letter
- Borgstrom brothers
- Sullivan brothers
- Sole Survivor Policy
- Brothers von Blücher, Germany's counterparts to the Niland/Sullivan Brothers
- Mark Bando (2001). 101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles at Normandy. Zenith Imprint. pp. 153–155. ISBN 1610606914.
- "The Niland Boys". Canisius College. July 2006. Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- "Francis L. Sampson (1912-1996)". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
- "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.
- "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.
- Saving Private Ryan Online Encyclopedia
- Saving Private Ryan a real-life drama" by Ron Churchill, University of Buffalo Reporter
- Saving Private Ryan: pictures behind the scenes at Paratrooper Research Team