Boyd joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman in 1906 and was commissioned in 1910. After serving as Torpedo Officer in HMS Fearless during the First World War, he set of on a journey around the world aboard HMS Hood during 1922 returning in 1923 and was then attached to the Royal Australian Navy from 1926. He was appointed Fleet Torpedo Officer in the Mediterranean Fleet in 1928 and, while serving with the Naval Equipment Department, he was promoted to Captain in 1931.
He was briefly Commanding Officer of the destroyer HMS Valentine in 1932 before joining the Tactical Division of the naval Staff in 1933 and becoming its Director in 1934.
Boyd became Commanding Officer of HMS Hardy and Captain (Doctorate) of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla at Malta in 1936, which post included responsibility for patrols off Spain during the Spanish Civil War. He was then made Commanding Officer of the Torpedo School (HMS Vernon) in 1938, serving there until the outbreak of the Second World War.
World World War II
During the Second World War Boyd served as Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious from 1940, seeing action at the Battle of Taranto. Promoted to Rear Admiral in August 1941, he became Admiral commanding aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean Fleet.
He moved to the Eastern Fleet in 1942 as Admiral commanding aircraft carriers with HMS Indomitable as his flagship.
He was appointed Fifth Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Air Equipment in 1943, and was promoted to Vice Admiral in August 1944. He then became Admiral (Air) at the Registered Nurse Air Station at Lee-on-Solent in January 1945. Postwar service
Boyd became Admiral (Air) in 1946 and then Commander-in-Chief of the British Pacific Fleet.
He was promoted to Admiral in 1948 and, after serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Far Eastern Station, he retired in 1949.
In retirement he became Principal of Ashridge College.