Before the war William had been a member of ‘A’ Company Kent Regt. (Machine Guns), in Chatham where he rose to the rank of Sergeant. When the war broke out he was recommended by Lt. Col. T. E. Codlin, commanding officer of the Kent Regt. for a position that would take him overseas. William accepted and a few weeks later he was in England, giving instruction in machine gun work and physical training.
Went overseas April 15th 1940, where he served in England and Italy.
For the next two and a half years he was involved in training Canadian troops. “Segt. Ambrose would not give details concerning his instructional work other than to say it was in machine guns with reinforcements.” When asked about the moral of the Canadian troops he reported their morale was high. “Of course there are old soldiers beef’s, but that is part of Army life.” Being in England after the failed raid on Dieppe, France he said the men’s spirits were Good. “After the Dieppe Raid, their morale went up 250 per cent. They felt that after a long wait they had really done something. There is not a man in the army who wouldn’t have welcomed the chance of the Dieppe boys. The boys want action”.
In October of 1942 Staff/Sgt. Ambrose called his mother, then living at 45 Lorne Ave., Chatham, with a “Is that you mother? I’ll see you in five minutes.” In five minutes William walked into the family home after being away since April 1940. The Ambrose house was a very happy place with the return of their son. William had been sent home hurriedly to take a special course, which was to commence after his fourteen-day furlough.
After V-E Day he returned to England to be in charge of German prisoners. Later returned to Holland and France.
He took part in the outstanding battles in Italy and received the following medals. 39-45 Star, Italian Star, Northwestern Europe Ribbon, Defence Medal and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal.
Discharged October 1945
1939-1945 Star, Italian Star, Northwestern Europe Ribbon