Alastair Borthwick, a Passionate Writer, Rock-Climber Who Participated In World War Two

Alastair Borthwick possessed what anyone would describe as a rare talent in literary work. His book, “Always A Little Further,” published in 1939, was his first literary success. In this book, Alaistair Borthwick narrates their experiences as they wandered through the Scottish highlands. 

In 1946, Borthwick published another book, Sans Peur, but this time, his focus shifted to the final years of the 2nd world war. This book was reissued in the 1980s and 1990s but as Battalion

Alastair Borthwick was born in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire. He grew up in Troon, Ayrshire. At eleven years, he moved to Glasgow and enrolled for high school studies. At 16 years, Borthwick took up a job as a copytaker on the Evening Times, before graduating to the Glasgow Weekly Herald. Due to understaffing, Alaistair took up other responsibilities such as writing and editing women and children film pages, letters to the editors, and would also respond to the readers’ questions. He was also responsible for compiling the crossword. 

It was through Evening Times’ open page that Alaistair Borthwick developed an interest in rock climbing. In 1935, Alaistair Borthwick went to London to work with Daily Mirror where he worked for only one year. Other companies that Alastair Borthwick worked with include Empire Exhibition and BBC. He loved radio broadcasting, especially on outdoor topics specifically in Scotland. Borthwick had an unmatchable talent for the spoken word. 

Borthwick’s adventurous spirit pushed him to participate in world war two. He offered his service mostly in Sicily, Western Desert, and Europe with the 5th Seaforth Highlanders of the 51st Highland Division. He rose through the ranks to become a captain, primarily working as a battalion intelligence officer. In 1945, Alaistair Borthwick led a battalion of 600 men in the Netherlands, at night through German lines near Venlo, in open country. By the time the enemy was waking up in the morning, the Seaforths had dug in behind them. 

When the war came to an end, Alaistair Borthwick and his wife Anne moved to the coast of Jura in a small cottage and settled there. They stayed there for seven years, during which they gave birth to their son Patrick. Borthwick worked with BBC for three years running a series on post-war Scotland, Scottish survey. He also ran a weekly column in the News Chronicle for several years. In the 1960s, Grampian opened its doors to him. He would script and present programs from a wide array of topics. He died at the age of 90 years.

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