19 May 1899|
Gorna Mitropolia, Bulgaria
|Died||2 January 1994
Chicago, United States
|Service/branch||Czechoslovak Air Force
Royal Air Force
|Years of service||1925 – 1939, 1946 – 1948 (Czechoslovakia)
1939 – 1946 (UK)
|Rank||Brigadier General (Czechoslovakia)
Wing Commander (UK)
|Unit||No. 310 Squadron RAF
No. 312 Squadron RAF
Ambrus was born in Gorna Mitropolia, Bulgaria in 1899. After leaving school, he studied at the Budapest Academy Lodovika Military Academy. Upon graduation he was commissioned as an officer in the Czechoslovakian Army; he joined the Czechoslovakian Air Force in 1925.
Ambrus was a highly resepcted pilot and had won awards at aerobatic competitions, including at Vincennes in 1934, and at the 1936 Summer Olympics. In 1938, he was commanding officer of the Czechoslovak Air Force Test Group in Prague. In that year, he flew the Tatra T.101 on its record-breaking flight from Prague to Khartoum, Sudan.
Among the medals award to Gen. Ambrus was the Order of the British Empire.
World War II
In 1939, he became a squadron commander in Prague. After serving in France in mid 1940,he came to the UK and joined to No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron at Duxford as a P/O on 12 July 1940. Converting onto the Hawker Hurricane in August 1940 at No. 6 O.T.U at Sutton Bridge, he was then re-posted to Duxford to the newly created No. 312 Czechoslovak Squadron, and on 10 September took the command as a Squadron Leader.
On 17 December, he left No. 312 Squadron to work with the Czechoslovak Inspectorate General (CIG) in London until the end of 1941. In 1942 he was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander and he was posted to Canada, where he worked as Czechoslovak Air Attache (CAA) in Ottawa till the end of war.
After the war he became commander of the 4th Aviation military wing.
Later life and death
He left Czechoslovakia after the Communist takeover. Ambrus emigrated to the United States in 1948, and settled in Chicago.He worked as a design engineer, planning for highways, airports, air-pollution control systems and chemical plants.
He died, aged 94, at the Bohemian Home for the Aged in Chicago, where he had been resident since 1985. After his death his remains were repatriated to his homeland and buried in the Slavičím valley, near Bratislava (in the present-day Slovak Republic).
Honours, awards and legacy
Ambrus was awarded the following:
- Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – 21 January 1945
- The 1939–45 Star (with Battle of Britain Clasp)
- Defence Medal (United Kingdom)
- War Medal 1939–1945 (United Kingdom)
- Czechoslovak War Cross 1939-1945
- Czechoslovak Medal for valor,
- Czechoslovakia Medals of Merit 1.st.,
- Commemorative Medals MS. Foreign armies are labeled F and VB
- Milan Rastislav Stefanik Order, third class (1992)
- Corona Romana
- Degraef, Stefan; Borremans, Edwin. "Moravian Silverwing. The rebirth of Tatra's Khartoum Flyer". Aeroplane. No. April 2012. Cudham: Kelsey Publishing. pp. 28–32. ISSN 0143-7240.
- Heise, Kenan (25 January 1994). "Gen. Jan Ambrus, 94". Chicago Tribune.