Scottish author and radio presenter Alastair Borthwick was famous for writing about mountain climbing and his excursions during World War II.
Born in Troon and later in Glasgow, Borthwick began working for newspapers at an early age. He was just 16 years old when he landed a copy writing job at the Evening Times. He later joined the Glasgow Weekly Herald as a writer of many interesting topics.
It was by this time when Borthwick became interested in mountain climbing. The trend became a huge past time in the country due to the high unemployment rate. He wrote the novel Always a Little Bit Further (1939) which documented the social change going on in Scotland.
In 1941, Borthwick joined Scotland’s war effort against the Germans. He served in the Highland Light Infantry and soon reached the rank of Captain. In 1944, he transferred to the 5th Seaforth Highlanders.
Borthwick continued to document his experiences in the war. He did so with the graphic detail that let readers know that war really was hell.
Borthwick is known for leading his platoon behind the German lines in Netherlands. Not only did perform this feat at night, he also did it with a map that was worthless. The Germans woke to find themselves surrounded by Scottish troops.
After leaving the military, Borthwick continued to write and document his times in the war. Sans Peur (1946) gave a perspective of the war through the eyes of a young military officer.
Borthwick continued to write and work as a radio broadcaster and writer for the remainder of his life. He was authority on Scottish subjects ranging from Bonnie Prince Charlie to Joseph McCarthy. He considers his 12-part miniseries Scottish Soldier his best work.
In 1952, he was awarded the Officer of the Order of British Empire (OBE).