Walter Borrowes was born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales, on 22 September 1892, the son of Major Sir Erasmus Dixon Borrowes and Florence Elizabeth Borrowes (née Ruxton). He joined the Royal Navy as a Cadet at the Royal Naval College at Osborne on the Isle of Wight on 15 September 1905. He was promoted to Midshipman on 15 May 1910 and appointed to the battleship HMS COLLINGWOOD. On 21 February 1912 he was appointed to the battle cruiser HMS INDOMITABLE. He was promoted to Sub Lieutenant on 15 September 1912 having gained five First Class passes in his Sub Lieutenants Examinations and was awarded a £10.00 prize. On 6 June 1913 he was appointed to the cruiser HMS ANTRIM.
Sub Lieutenant Borrowes was appointed to HMS DOLPHIN ‘for Instruction in Submarines’ on 23 May 1914. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 30 July 1914. His appointment to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS ARROGANT at Dover for HMS C31 followed on 2 November 1914.
HMS C31 was sent to patrol off Zeebrugge in early 1915. The Commanding Officer left for a two-day patrol on the 4 January 1915 with orders to report at Harwich on the 7 January 1915. Nothing more was heard from C31 and, on the 10 and 11 January, two destroyers (HMS LURCHER AND HMS FIREDRAKE) attempted to find out what had happened but were thwarted by the stormy weather prevailing. It was thought that C31 had been sunk by enemy patrol craft, but it may well have been mined. The date of the loss of C31 is accepted as being 7 January 1915.
Walter Borrowes is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval War Memorial on Panel No. 7.