Henry John Burden DSO DFC BArch was born in Toronto, Ontario in April, 1893. He was the eldest grandson of department store "mogul" Timothy Eaton and the son of Charles E. Burden and Margaret Eaton. After attending Upper Canada College, he graduated from the University of Toronto with the degree of Bachelor of Architectural Sciences (B.Arch).

On October 29, 1917 he was seconded, as a Flying Officer, for duty with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), which later became part of the Royal Air Force (RAF). In February of 1918 he joined the famous 56 Squadron at the Western Front, a unit that boasted two VC winners. On August 1918, Burden destroyed three enemy aircraft in the morning and in that very evening added to his day's tally by destroying two more. For this achievement he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on August 10, 1918. By September 1918 with 13 victories in the air to his credit plus three planes destroyed on the ground, Burden was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and sent home to Canada.

After leaving the service at the end of WW1, Burden attended Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey and received the Master of Fine Arts degree. He became a partner in an architectural firm as well as a university lecturer. In 1938, he was appointed to the Honorary Air Advisory Committee made up of Canadian war aces. At the outbreak of WW2 he joined the RCAF and for 3 years commanded training schools in Canada. In 1942, he took over command of a fighter-reconnaissance station at Dunsfield in southern England until his return to Canada in 1944 where he became Commanding Officer of the Repatriation Depot at Trenton, Ontario.

He married and he and his wife had a family of one son and two daughters one of whom married WW2 ace, the famous Johnny Fauquier. Burden's sister Margaret married WW1 ace and VC winner the famous Billy Bishop.