Alastair Borthwick was a Scottish man who lived from February 17, 1913, until September 25, 2003. He was an author, broadcaster, journalist, and soldier in the second world war. He wrote two books, one before the war and one after. His first book was “Always a Little Further” which came out in 1939. This was a book filled with humor where he wrote about outdoor activities. It was a collection of the writing he had written for a small newspaper, the Glasgow Herald. This book is still considered a classic.
His second book is also regarded as a classic. This one was published in 1946 and it was called, “Sans Peur, The History of the 5th (Caithness and Sutherland) Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders”. It has been reprinted many times including in 1994. What makes this book different is that it is told through his eyes as a junior officer. Most regimental history books like this are instead written by a committee or a retired general.
Alastair Borthwick never finished school having left to get a job when he was 16. He first worked at the Glasgow Evening Herald where his job as a “telephone boy” was to answer the phone and write copy from this newspaper’s traveling correspondents. He moved up when he joined the Glasgow Weekly Herald in short order. This newspaper had just five people on the staff who had a 28-page newspaper to fill each day. He took on multiple roles including writing and editing the page for women, one for children, answering readers’ letters, and reviewing films. He even compiled its crossword puzzles.
He joined the Daily Mirror in 1935 but decided that being a part of Fleet Street simply wasn’t for him. He was basically happy when he got fired in 1936 because it enabled him to become a radio broadcaster which was much more suitable for his laid-back informality. During the war, Alastair Borthwick served as a soldier and then a junior officer, fighting in North Africa and Europe. After the war was over he went back to radio broadcasting and then became a popular television broadcaster. Check out Alastair’s Life Among the Scots here.