In Memory of
2nd Lt.
Gilbert Martin Ambur
Canton, South Dakota
Lincoln County
March 25, 1922 – September 15, 1944
Killed in Action in France

 Gilbert Martin Ambur

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.
Dear Folks:

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 million bucks 
during my last two days.  Here are the four things that an infantryman values most:

1.       A foxhole—preferably with a cover.  It will protect him from anything except direct hits and aerial bursts of artillery.

2.       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.

3.       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.

4.       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.

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.