Desmond Gilbert Borton was born in his grandparents’ home in Ealing in July 1919, and grew up in Knollys Road, Streatham. He attended the New School in Streatham, which was the first Rudolf Steiner school in the UK, and on leaving school around 1936 went to the School of Building in Brixton.
In May 1939 Borton joined the Territorial Army in Croydon, and wen to Belgium with the British Expeditionary Force in April 1940. On 31st May that year he was evacuated from Dunkirk to Ramsgate, and was subsequently based at Tenterden in Kent as a Mechanical transport/driver in the Royal Army Service Corps. In 1942 he was deployed to North Africa, travelling via Cape Town, and served running supplies from Sudan across the desert to Tobruk, Tripoli, Alexandria and Cairo with the Sudanese Defence Force.
On being demobbed in April 1946, Borton returned to his grandparents’ home in Ealing and began working for Page and Overton Brewery and resuming his architecture studies at night school. He designed a number of houses in Surrey, Sussex and Kent, including the family home at Woodcote Close in Epsom, before qualifying as ARIBA in June 1955.
After qualifying he worked on a number of buildings for the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, including AWRE Aldermaston in 1955-1956 and the Safety in Mines Research Building in Sheffield in 1960-1962. In 1962-63 he worked n the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington and then the Surface Mines Research dust explosion gallery in Buxton, before going to work at HQ BAOR, Rheindahlen, Germany in November 1964. Borton subsequently worked on a number of schools and other buildings on Army bases before returning to the UK to work for the Department of the Environment at Croydon in 1969. He worked on the Ship Tank at Feltham, RAF Lossiemouth, Odium and then prisons and young offenders establishments, including Feltham.
In 1981 he retired to Bosham in West Sussex, and died in June 1999.
Compiled with thanks to his daughter, Diana Ashe (nee Borton).