WESTBERG, WAYNE ROBERT, Captain, # 0-732792, USAAF

 

Information about the death of Captain Wayne R. Westberg is provided on his individual pages on this site, which refer to the loss of C-47 43-48308 on 17 May 1946. The C-47 crashed in the Bay of Bengal and Capt. Westberg’s remains were aboard.  

 

NILAND, EDWARD F., Technical Sergeant, # 32251492, USAAF

 

Edward F. Niland was born on 22 December 1912 in North Tonawanda, Erie Co., New York, to Michael C. Niland (1878-1964) and Augusta (Witzke) Niland (1882-1964). Siblings included Clarissa M. Niland (1910-1996), Preston T. Niland (1915-1944), Margaret (Niland) McRae (1916-1986), Robert J. Niland (1919-1944), and Frederick William Niland (1920-1983).

 

After enlisting in the USAAF on 3 March 1942, he was trained to maintain and operate the radio equipment on the B-25 Mitchell. He was sent overseas to India. On 20 May 1944 a B-25J, # 43-3896, assigned to 10th Air Force, 12th Bomb Group (Medium), 434th Bomb Squadron, Kurmitola, India, departed its airfield on a combat mission to Mawlu, Burma. It was shot down by enemy small caliber weapons. The last to see the B-25 aloft was 1stLt John B. Walker while making a bomb run on the target. 2ndLt Snee bailed out but his parachute did not open and he was killed. TSgt. Niland was liberated from the Rangoon POW prison on about 4 May 1945. He was honorably discharged 6 October 1945. He died 28 February 1984 and his last residence was in North Tonawanda, Niagara Co., New York.

 

The movie, “Saving Private Ryan,” directed by Steven Spielberg, is based upon the Niland brothers and the family’s sacrifice in WW II. The Private Ryan character is based upon Sgt Frederick W. Niland.

His brother, Preston T. Niland, born 6 March 1915, U.S. Army, Second Lieutenant, # 0-1305819, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, paratrooper, enlisted 31 March 1941, was killed in action on Utah Beach during the 7 June 1944 D-Day invasion of France. He was awarded the Purple Heart. He is buried in Grave # 12, alongside his brother, Robert J. Niland.

His brother, Robert J. Niland, born 1919, U.S. Army, Technical Sergeant, # 32200180, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Company D, 82nd Airborne Division, paratrooper, was killed in action during the 6 June 1944 invasion of France. He is buried in the Normany American Cemetery & Memorial, Colleville-sur-Mer, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France (Plot F, Row 15, Grave 11). He was awarded the Purple Heart.

His brother, Frederick “Fritz” W. Niland, born 23 April 1920, U.S. Army, Sergeant, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, Company H, 101st Airborne Division, enlisted 27 November 1942, and fought through the first several days of the Normandy, France, invasion. He was honorably discharged 11 December 1945. He was awarded the Bronza Star. He died 1 December 1983 and is buried in the Fort Richardson National Cemetery, Anchorage, Alaska.