AMBROSE H. NUGENT,

78, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was the first American officer captured in the Korean war and who later was cleared of charges that he had collaborated with the enemy, died Feb. 8 in Corpus Christi, Tex. The cause of death was not reported.

Col. Nugent joined the Army in 1929. During World War II, he served in the Southwest Pacific theater and participated in the D-Day landing in Europe. He was an artillery captain in the 25th Infantry Division in Japan when the Korean war broke out in 1950. Sent to Korea, he was with the first U.S. unit to confront the invading North Koreans and he was taken prisoner on July 5, 1950.

He was released Sept. 1, 1953, shortly after the armistice. In 1955 he was charged with 13 counts of collaboration for making propaganda broadcasts and signing leaflets. Following a six-week court-martial at Fort Sill, Okla., he was cleared of all charges, commended and promoted. He retired from active duty in 1960.

MARGHANITA LASKI,

72, a novelist, critic, and prolific amateur lexicographer who had been a member of the Arts Council of Great Britain since 1979, died Feb. 6 in Dublin. The cause of death was not reported.

Miss Laski published her first novel, "Love on the Supertax," in 1944. Among her other novels were "Little Boy Lost," which was turned into a film in the 1950s starring Bing Crosby; and "The Victorian Chaise-Longue." She wrote books on Jane Austen, George Eliot and Rudyard Kipling and two studies of religious and aesthetic experience, "Ecstasy" and "Everyday Ecstasy."

Dr. Robert Burchfield, who started editing the four supplements to the Oxford English Dictionary in 1960, said she was his biggest contributor. "Her response was extraordinary," he said. "By the time the fourth volume was published in 1986, she had sent in about a quarter of a million quotations -- far more than any other contributor."

PETE C. SIANIS,

68, a retired Air Force major general and bomber pilot who as deputy chief of staff for operations of Strategic Air Command was the architect of the B52 bombing raids on the Hanoi-Haiphong area of North Vietnam in 1972, died Feb. 6 at the hospital at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The cause of death was not reported.

During an operation called Linebacker II, SAC B52s from Guam and Thailand bombed North Vietnam's capital and its principal port from Dec. 18 through Dec. 29, 1972, pausing only on Christmas Day. On Dec. 30, the Hanoi government announced it was ready to resume peace talks with the United States and South Vietnam. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said the raids forced the enemy back to the negotiating table.