Alastair Borthwick was an author, broadcaster as well as a journalist. Borthwick was born on February 17, 1913. When he was sixteen years old, he left school to work for the Evening Times. He then took a position at the Glasgow Weekly Herald. During this time, Borthwick did a variety of jobs including working on the crossword, children and women’s pages as well as front page leads and more.
Alastair Borthwick’s first book Always a Little Further was published in 1939. While writing for the Glasgow Weekly Herald, he became interested in rock climbing. At the time, this was something usually done by the wealthy. Rock climbing was quickly becoming very popular with the young, working-class people in Glasgow. Borthwick wrote about working people hitchhiking north and setting up camps in caves. Always a Little Further was recognized for its portrayal of social change. It described Borthwick’s experience with hawkers as well as tinkers, tramps, and others. The book became quite popular and hasn’t been out of print since it was first published.
During World War II Alastair Borthwick worked as an Intelligence Officer with the 5th Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders. He was involved in the action that took place in Germany, North Africa, Belgium, Sicily, France as well as Italy. When the war was over, Borthwick was asked to write about the history of the 5th Battalion. In 1946, Sans Peur, The History of the 5th (Caithness and Sutherland) Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders was published. It has been in print since its initial publication. In 1994, it was published under the title of Battalion: a British infantry unit’s actions from El Alamein to the Elbe, 1942-1945.
After serving in the war, Borthwick moved to Glasgow and spent most of his time working as a radio broadcaster for the BBC. In 1952, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). This was for Borthwick’s work at the Festival of Britain where he provided an engineering exhibition put on display. During the 1960s, Borthwick started working in television and produced over 149 half-hour programs. Alastair Borthwick and his wife moved to Ayrshire in the 1970s. He eventually moved into a nursing home and passed away in 2003 at the age of 80.