When people talk about the last war that the world witnessed, it’s mostly from whispers in the street, movies or films and sometimes from written materials. These materials were compiled from stories passed down by our forefathers or books written by people that were part and parcel of the war. One such author was Alastair Charles Borthwick. He was commissioned to serve in war as a private in the Highland Light infantry. It wasn’t long before he was commissioned to a higher rank in September 1939, a second lieutenant, a position that was postponed till November 1941 as a lance-corporal. During his service, he worked mainly as an intelligence officer, a path that led to the position of captain. On October 13, 1944, he was transferred to the fifth Seaforth Highlanders. During this time, his most significant feat came when he surprised the German troops. He had led his battalion, 600 men, relying on his instinct behind enemy’s line. Using this experience and that of others that served in the World War Two, Alastair Borthwick wrote his second book, Sans Peur, later published as Battalion.
Alastair Borthwick’s life before World War II.
Borthwick was born on February 17, 1913, in Rutherglen. He lived there for short while then moved to Glasgow where he attended Glasgow High. Alastair Borthwick left the school to work for Evening Times as a copy maker at the age of sixteen. Later he joined Glasgow Herald, a small newspaper that would become the pillar for his career as an author. While he worked for the paper, he wrote articles from a variety of topics one of them being the open-air column.
Open Air column exposed Alastair Borthwick to the shifting social culture. The working-class youths were participating resourcefully in activities previously left for the high-end members. These activities included hitchhiking and camping or “bothing” in caves. This became the mainstay in his column and the theme of his book, Always a little further, in 1939.
After the war.
Alastair Borthwick was married and immediately after the war, he and his wife moved to Jura. There he focused on broadcasting for BBC and fishing and crofting on his leisure time. He broadcast for both radio and television as well as presenting and writing programs. Buy Alastair’s book on Amazon.