Geoffrey Ambler

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Geoffrey Hill Ambler
Born (1904-06-23)23 June 1904
Died 26 August 1978(1978-08-26) (aged 74)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Rank Air Vice Marshal
Commands held Royal Observer Corps
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Air Force Cross
Other work Chairman of Fred Ambler Limited
Honorary Air Commodore of three RAuxAF Squadrons 1947–1961

Air Vice Marshal Geoffrey Hill Ambler CB, CBE, AFC (23 June 1904 – 26 August 1978) was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Ambler served as the third Commandant of the Royal Observer Corps, the first serving RAF officer to hold the appointment as his predecessors were retired Air Commodores.

Early days[edit]

Ambler was born in 1904 and educated at Shrewsbury and Clare College,Cambridge University. He rowed in the University Boat Race for Cambridge in 1924, 1925 and 1926. He was President of the Cambridge University Boat Club 1925–1926. He then worked in the family firm of Fred Ambler Limited in Bradford, Yorkshire and during his time with the company he invented a method which increased the speed at which worsted yarn might be produced.[1]

In 1931 he joined the Auxiliary Air Force and served as a pilot on No. 608 Squadron (North Riding) Squadron Aux AF in his spare time and in the ranks of Pilot Officer (7 February 1931), Flying Officer (7 August 1932) and Flight Lieutenant (25 November 1933). On 30 December 1934 he was promoted further to Squadron Leader and appointed Officer Commanding of No 608 (North Riding) Squadron Aux AF.[1]

In 1938, still a Squadron Leader, Ambler transferred to No. 609 (West Riding) Squadron Aux AF as 609's Officer Commanding. This auxiliary appointment was short-lived and with World War II having only started a few months previously, Ambler was promoted to Acting Wing Commander and took up duties as the Operations Controller at RAF Wick in December 1939. His confirmation in the rank came on 1 January 1940 and he was promoted to Group Captain a year later in December 1941.[1]

Royal Observer Corps[edit]

In June 1942, Ambler was promoted to Acting Air Commodore and appointed as the third Commandant of the Royal Observer Corps, replacing Air Commodore Drummond Warrington-Morris.[2] During his time in command he oversaw the reorganization of the Corps' headquarters and the subordinate area headquarters.

Ambler also aligned each ROC area's territory to that of its associated Fighter Command group for more cohesive interception of enemy aircraft.

Ambler handed over command to Air Commodore Finlay Crerar in June 1943.

Return to RAF duties[edit]

With his rank as an Air Commodore confirmed Ambler moved across the road at RAF Bentley Priory to an appointment as the Deputy Senior Air Staff Officer (DSASO) of RAF Fighter Command and then the Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) on 1 February 1945 in the rank of Acting Air Vice-Marshal.[1]

Between August 1943 and October 1944 Ambler was an Aide de Camp to King George VI.[1]

Retirement from the RAF[edit]

He retired from the RAF after the end of World War II in August 1945 and returned to work at Fred Ambler Limited. He eventually became chairman of the company.[1]

In October 1947 Ambler was appointed as an Honorary Air Commodore to No 609 (West Riding) Squadron RAuxAF, an appointment he held until March 1957. He was awarded a similar honour with No 2609 (West Riding) Field Squadron RAuxAF Regiment between November 1949 and March 1957. In November 1949 he was appointed Honorary Air Commodore with No 3609 (West Riding) Fighter Control Unit, a position he held until January 1961.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Air Vice Marshal G H Ambler". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Units directly responsible to Ministry level". Retrieved 7 June 2015. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
A D Warrington-Morris
Commandant Royal Observer Corps
1942 – 1943
Succeeded by
F Crerar