Alastair Borthwick was born in Rutherglen, Scotland in 1913 and grew up in Glasgow. He dropped out of school when he was just 16 years old and joined a local newspaper as one of their copytakers. His job was to write the copy that correspondents out in the field would call in. He parlayed this experience into a job at the Glasgow Weekly Herald where he stayed up through entering the military during the second world war.
He loved to write about outdoor experiences in a long-running column called Open Air. At the time only wealthy people rock climbed but working-class people living in Glasgow were increasingly engaging in this sport which is something he wrote about. He also wrote about camping out in caves. In 1939, Alastair Borthwick wrote his first novel, “Always a Little Further”, which was also about outdoor activities. It is a very humorous book and can still be purchased today. Go to MyBookSource for more information about Alastair.
He served in the British Army, first as a private. After almost becoming a second lieutenant that fell through for now unknown reasons he was commissioned as a lance-corporal. He then became a captain and transferred to the Reconnaissance Corps in January 1941. After nearly four years he transferred to the 5th Seaforth Highlanders. While fighting in the Netherlands he led a battalion of 600 men behind enemy lines. Working without an accurate map he was nonetheless able to dig in behind the enemy line which came as a great shock to the Germans when they woke up the next morning.
After the war was over, Alastair Borthwick published a second book, “Sans Peur” about the war from his perspective. This book was highly popular and was reprinted in 1994. He also worked as a television and radio broadcaster. He covered subjects ranging from Bonnie Prince Charlies all the way to Joseph McCarthy.
Alastair Borthwick passed away in Beith, Ayrshire, on September 25, 2003. His wife, Anne Corbett, had died earlier that year. He was survived by the one son this couple had.