In Memory of
Gilbert Martin Ambur
Canton, South Dakota
March 25, 1922 – September 15, 1944
Killed in Action in France
Gilbert (Bud) Martin
Ambur was born near Beresford, South Dakota on March 25, 1922 to Albin and Grace
M. (Burney) Ambur. He spent his first years of school in Beresford, and
attended Canton High School, graduating in 1940. Gilbert stood at the top of his
class, taking part in athletics and other school activities. He was active in
Future Farmers of America all four years, being president of the local chapter
and secretary of the state chapter. He played basketball and football, was a
member of the C-Club Scitamard, and carried the lead in the senior class play.
Having been one of only 25 graduates in the state awarded one of the Sears
Roebuck Fellowship scholarships, Gilbert attended South Dakota State College in
Brookings, South Dakota for two years for special training in agriculture. He
was the second highest in his class at the end of his first year there. He was
involved with the rifle team while he was a freshman at the college, as well as
enrolling in ROTC. On the State College campus, Gilbert was one of the “44
Kings,” a group of “war-bound ROTC students.” There remains an unopened bottle
of expensive Scotch that was purchased after the war to be given to the “last
man of the 44 Kings still standing.” Another of the 44 Kings, Thomas Smith also
did not come home from the war.
Ambur was enlisted in the
Enlisted Reserve Corps on June 9, 1942, and reported for active duty on April
12, 1943 at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Corporal Ambur was honorably discharged
April 11, 1944, to accept a commission. He was appointed Second Lieutenant on
April 12, 1944 and entered active duty on the same date, reporting to Camp
Robinson on April 21, where he trained recruits. After a short leave home,
Second Lieutenant Ambur was sent overseas, arriving in England August 15,
1944. On August 18, he was sent into France, serving with the Infantry
Replacement Group. Two days before his death, 2nd Lt. Gilbert M.
Ambur wrote a letter to his parents, which said, in part:
Sept. 13 or so, France.
I have been living in a foxhole the past two days
and nights. I now know what Jerry
88’s and “burp” guns are like. I wouldn’t have traded my foxhole for a
during my last two days. Here are the four things that an infantryman values
A foxhole—preferably with a cover.
It will protect him from anything except direct hits and aerial bursts of
Tanks—those great big beautiful
things save a lot of lives. The Jerries give up when they see them coming.
They really make us feel a lot more secure. I may sound a little
over-emphatic, but just ask any infantryman.
P-47’s and 51’s—it is a beautiful
sight to see those dive-bombing, strafing planes work on the Jerries. They
help a lot.
Our artillery—it paves the way
before every attack and repulses many counter attacks. Aerial bursts right
over the enemy are wicked and our artillery is good at it.
I still haven’t gotten any
mail since I left England. I hope it catches up soon. I am packing
a Jerry pistol I got off a prisoner we captured in a town. Everyone in our
whole division is
wearing fur-lined jackets which were captured….
How did the small grain
turn out and how does the corn crop look? Outside of being a
little filthy, I feel fine. Tell everyone hello for me.
Second Lt. Gilbert Martin Ambur was killed in action in France on September 15,
1944. His sister, Mrs. Albert Face, and his brothers, Donald, Robert, and
Willard survived him.
The 44 Kings, Gilbert is on the far right.
Information for this entry was researched and
composed by Jenny Hamilton, Kaitlyn Deatherage, Kyle Hoffman, Darin Broughtin,
Travis Hardie, Laura Dykstra, Toni Lottman, and Kirstin Hall of Canton High
School, Canton, South Dakota, and further edited and revised by Mrs. Shirley
Swanson, Stanley County Schools, Fort Pierre, South Dakota. Further information
was added from Chuck Cecil’s column in the Brookings County Register,
sent via Rob and Susan Ambur, Beresford.