"To Keep in Memory"

Pte. R. E. Ambler

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M/398548 Private Robert Eric Ambler, Royal Army Service Corps

RFCBadge.jpg
The badge of the Royal Flying Corps

Robert Eric Ambler was born in Barnet in London on 8th May, 1900. He was the younger of two children born to Robert and Frances Ambler, the other child being Norah, who was two years older than young Robert.

In 1901, the census shows the family living at Blythe House, on the East Barnet Road where Robert snr ran his own house decorating business. His sister, a dressmaker called Alice Ambler also lived with the family.

By the time the 1911 census was taken, the family had increased in size, with the addition of two daughters, Margery and Ella. The Amblers had also moved to an address in Bayswater Place, in Harehills, Leeds, although it appears that around 1909 they had been living in Lincoln, as that is where Ella had been born.

Robert Ambler didn’t move his decorating business north with him, and he was described on the census as a salesman of paperhangings, and as a worker, rather than an employer.

ASCBadge.jpg
The badge of the Army Service Corps

Robert Ambler was conscripted into the West Yorkshire Regiment on 31st January 1918, but on 4th February, he was posted to No. 1 Officers Technical Training Wing Royal Flying Corps at St Leonards on Sea as an officer cadet. While at St Leonards, Robert Ambler fell ill with spinal meningitis and was admitted to the Kitchener Hospital in Brighton. This hospital seems a curious choice, given that it was specially adapted from old workhouse buildings to accommodate wounded Indian soldiers. The infection cleared up and after 24 days in hospital, Robert Ambler was discharged to duty. In the period he had been in hospital, the Royal Flying Corps had become the Royal Air Force.

Back in training, Robert Ambler damaged his feet during drill and marching instruction. Resulting in flat feet, this seemingly rendered him unfit to be an officer and he was transferred to the Army Service Corps where he continued with his pre-service employment as an engineering draughtsman after training at No. 1 Reserve Depot, ASC, Grove Park, in Northumberland. He was subsequently posted to Home Depot, ASC, and it was from here that he was transferred to Class Z of the Army Reserve on 23rd September 1919. All of his service was in England.


Robert Ambler returned home to Badger Terrace in Scholes, however he travelled to the USA from the Port of Glasgow aboard the SS Columbia in 1921 to work on a farm in Wyoming.

He returned to England and in 1923 married Emily Burton, a girl from Edmonton, roughly 5 miles away from East Barnet, where he grew up. The couple lived in Edmonton. Unfortunately, the marriage lasted only until 1932, when, aged 28, Emily died.

Robert Ambler returned to the USA and settled there. He married Irma Marie Potter on 10th November 1943 in Seattle, Washington. They moved to Blackduck, Beltrami County, Minnesota, where Robert Ambler died on 12th September 1974. His widow died in 1985. The couple are buried together in Lakeview Cemetery, Blackduck.

Photo credit: Maureen S (Findagrave)
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The grave of Robert Ambler and his wife, in Lakeview Cemetery, Blackduck, Minnesota, USA.

Remembering the Fallen of Two Villages on the Eastern Fringes of Leeds.

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