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Air Vice-Marshal A E Borton

A E Borton -1912Amyas Eden               

b: 20 Sep 1886           r: 23 Aug 1933                  d: 15 Aug 1969

CB - 2 Jan 1922, CMG - 3 Jun 1919, DSO - 3 Jul 1915, AFC – 2 Nov 1918, MiD - 17 Feb 1915, SS3S - 1917, N3 - xx xxx 1918, EN3 - xx xxx 1920, DL (Kent) - xx xxx xxxx.  

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(Militia): 2 Lt:  23 Jan 1904,

(Army): 2 Lt:  23 May 1906, Lt: 23 Nov 1907, (T) Capt: 29 Sep 1914, Capt: 29 Nov 1914, (T) Maj: 27 Oct 1915, (T) Lt Col: 1 Aug 1916, (T) Col: 21 Nov 1917, (T) Brig-Gen:  28 Jan 1918.

(RAF): - (T) Col [Lt Col]: 1 Apr 1918, Wg Cdr: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Gp Capt:  8 Aug 1919, Act A/Cdre: 31 Aug 1922, A/Cdre: 1 Oct 1922 [1 Aug 1919], AVM: 1 Jul 1929.

Photo  ©RAF College Library

23 Jan 1904:               Officer, 3rd Battalion, The Black Watch (Militia)

23 May 1906:              Officer, The Black Watch

 5 Sep 1906:                Served in East Indies

23 Mar 1908:               Served in UK

28 Oct 1908:                Served in East Indies

xx xxx 1909:               Attended Signalling Course.

29 Jan 1911:               Served in UK

29 Jan 1912:               Served in East Indies

xx Jan 1914:                  U/T Pilot, Central Flying School

28 Apr 1914:                Pilot, No 5 Sqn. (Various types – Netheravon/Western Front)

 2 Nov 1914:                Flight Commander, No ? Sqn, RFC.

 7 Jun 1915:                 Wounded (Dangerously)

11 Jun 1915:                Transferred to UK by Hospital Ship

27 Oct 1915:                Officer Commanding, No 10 (Training) Sqn RFC.

27 Dec 1915:                Officer Commanding, No 27 Sqn. (G100 Elephant - Hounslow/Western Front)

 1 Aug 1916:                Officer Commanding, ? Wing RFC.

12 Jan 1917:                Embarked at Devonport

30 Jan 1917:                Disembarked at Alexandria

 5 Feb 1917:                Officer Commanding, 5th Wing RFC.

13-14 Sep 1917:          Admitted to hospital

 5 Oct 1917:                 Officer Commanding, 40th (Army) Wing RFC.

17 Oct 1917:                Admitted to hospital

21 Nov 1917:               Officer Commanding, Palestine Group.

14 Dec 1917:               Officer Commanding, Palestine Brigade RFC.

 1 Apr 1918:                 GOC, RAF in Palestine.

xx xxx 1918:                 Returned to UK

27 Jul 1918:                  Departed UK by air

 7 Aug 1918:                 Arrived in Egypt

15  Aug 1918:               Attached, HQ Palestine Brigade

 1 Aug 1919:                 Awarded Permanent Commission as a Lieutenant Colonel

23 Dec 1919:                Group Captain i/c Administration, HQ RAF Halton.

 6 Jan 1921:                  Officer Commanding, HQ Mesopotamian Group.

13 Oct 1921:                Officer Commanding, HQ Iraq Group.

 7 Apr 1923:                 Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

15 Aug 1923:                AOC, RAF Cranwell/Commandant, RAF College.

 1 Nov 1926:                 Director of Personal Services.

 1 Jul 1929:                   Placed on half pay list 

1 Nov 1929:                 AOC, Inland Area.

 1 Feb 1933:                Placed on half pay list, scale A

20 Feb 1933:               Transferred to half pay list, scale B

xx xxx xxxx – xx xxx xxxx:        Regional Air Liaison Officer (Kent)

He received RAeC Certificate No 170 on 9 January 1912.  Known as ‘Biffy’ he is credited with devising the popular name for AA fire of the time, ‘Archie’ by his habit of shouting the words of a popular song of the period , 'Archibald, certainly not' as he attempted to dodge the enemy shells   He was  recommended for the VC but actually received the DSO, his brother was later awarded the VC. Whilst commanding No 27, a flight of four BE2c's was formed to deliver secret agents behind enemy lines.  Between 28 July 1918 and 8 August 1918 he established a World record by flying from Cranwell to Heliopolis in a Handley Page 0/400 in a flying time of 36 hours 13 minutes, covering 2592 miles.  He made a further long distance flight from Cairo to Delhi via Baghdad, together with Maj-Gen W G S Salmond and Capt Ross Smith (Australian Flying Corps) taking three days.  He  proposed surveying the route to Australia, chartering a ship, RIMS Sphinx, to prepare the route with landing grounds and fuel dumps.  When the Sphinx and its 7,000 gallons of fuel caught fire and exploded off Chittagong, he chartered the RIMS MintoHowever the prize offered by the Australian Government was dependant on the crew being all Australian, resulting in Ross Smith being accompanied by his brother Keith. However, 'Biffy' did not drop out of the picture as it was he who persuaded Vickers to lend a Vimy bomber to the Ross brothers in which to make the attempt.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

"Captain Amyas Eden Borton, The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), attached Royal Flying Corps.

Captain Anthony Marshall, 28th Light Cavalry, Indian Army, attached Royal Flying Corps. 

When on flying reconnaissance over the neighbourhood of Staden on 7th June, 1915, Captain Borton was wounded in the head and neck by a bullet fired from a hostile aeroplane, and although suffering severely from loss of blood he continued, with the assistance of the  Observer, Captain Marshall, to bandage his wounds and completed the reconnaissance on the prescribed course.  His injuries are such that he is not yet out of danger.

Captain Marshall continued his observations after rendering all possible aid to the Pilot, who was gradually losing consciousness, notwithstanding that the German aeroplane was persistently attacking.  The valuable report supplied by this Officer is as detailed and complete for the last as it is for the first part of the reconnaissance."

(London Gazette - 3 July 1915)

Further reading: -  My Warrior Sons ‘The Borton Family Diary, 1914-1918’. Ed Guy Slater, published by Peter Davies, London in 1973.

This page was last updated on 15/08/19

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