Alastair Borthwick was a Scottish author, soldier, and broadcaster who was born in 1913. At age 16 he entered the newspaper industry and made a name for himself with his feature “Open Air”. In this feature, he wrote about the people of Glasgow’s new hobby of climbing the nearby hills. These features were compiled into his first book, “Always a Little Further“, which achieved widespread acclaim in no small part due to the fact that it was very funny.
The outbreak of the second world war interrupted his writing career. Alastair Borthwick became an intelligence officer in the 5th Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders. He went back to writing after the war because his commander requested that he write about this Battalion’s history. This book was also acclaimed by critics and remains in print even today. It is now named, “Battalion: a British Infantry Unit’s Actions From El Alamein to the Elbe, 1942-1945”.
After this book was completed, Alastair Borthwick moved with his wife, Anne, to Jura. He became a BBC radio broadcaster. This came about because he was interviewed and proved that he had a natural talent for speaking on the radio. He eventually moved back to Glasgow so that he could work on the 1951 Festival of Britain.
From the 1960s on he could be found on television. Alastair Borthwick created 150 half-hour long shows that were aired on Grampian TV. He covered many topics such as inventions and architecture. He also aired a 13-part program that covered Scottish infantry. He hated the war but loved his fellow soldiers which showed throughout this program. During this time he also continued to be a radio broadcaster.
Alastair Borthwick spent his later years living on a hill farm located just outside of Ayrshire. His wife passed away in 1998 and so he lived alone up through the time he needed to move into a nursing home. He passed away on September 25, 2003, having lived for 90 years.
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