The War of Alastair Borthwick

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In 1929 when he was only 16, the Scottish writer Alastair Borthwick dropped out of high school

 to get an editing and writing job with the Glasgow Herald. In 1935 he left the Glasgow Herald and Glasgow, in general, to take up a writing position with the Daily Mirror in London. About a year later he left that position, moved back to Glasgow and started working for BBC. He would remain a prized member of its staff as a writer and broadcaster for many years. In 1938 he led the Press Club during the 1938 Empire Expedition. 

In 1939 he wrote and published his classic novel, “Always a Little Further,” which chronicles the growing Scottish mountaineering movement among the common citizens at that time. While the movement was already going on since the early 30s, Borthwick’s novel was instrumental in encouraging its massive growth. The year after its publication, Borthwick joined Scotland’s fight throughout World War II. For most of the last two years he served as the Intelligence Officer for the 5th Seaforth Highlanders. During the entirety of the war, he saw much fierce action and served with great honor.

His was one of the fiercest and most amazing war stories that you will hear. His most highly applauded task came one night when he successfully led 600 men across enemy lines in the pitch dark and without any trustworthy maps. It is incredibly he lived through it all. In the last few weeks of the war, his superiors allowed him to sit out the remainder of it in order to write a memoir of the wars in the last three years. The result “Sans Peur: The History of the 5th Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders, 1942-1945” was published in 1946. After the war, he would remain working with BBC. His final broadcast was in 1995. Alastair and his wife, Anne, both died in 2003 just months apart. 

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