Alistair Borthwick was a popular Scottish author and much more. He was also a journalist, broadcaster, and war historian. He organized national exhibitions and served with distinction in World War II.
He first became well-known across Scotland when he published his first book in 1939, Always a Little Further. This book was a collection of the writing he had done for the Glasgow Weekly Herald. It was about his activities in the great outdoors climbing the hills and mountains of Scotland. At the time the Scottish economy was in a depression and so Alistair Borthwick and other people would go explore hills and mountains because it was inexpensive and fun.
Alistair Borthwick volunteered to serve in World War II. He was in the 51st Highland’s Division’s 5th Seaforth Highlanders and started out as a private. Toward the end of the war, he led his whole battalion behind enemy lines in the pitch black. He was a captain when the war ended. His division leader asked him to write a book about the history of the Seaforth Highlanders which was published in 1946. This book, Sans Peur, was also very popular among readers.
In 1935, he was working for the Daily Mirror in London. He was interviewed by James Fergusson of the BBC and they got to talking about how Alistair Borthwick mountaineer on the weekends. This led to the start of his radio broadcasting career. After the war, he started working in television and created over 150 documentaries. Some of these documented the events of World War II.
When Alistair Borthwick started broadcasting in 1934 everyone on the radio talked in a very formal manner. He was very different and sounded both friendly and natural. He was never interested in becoming famous while broadcasting and instead just wanted the freedom to talk about what was interesting to him.
He is considered an icon of Scotland. He was named as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1952. Alistair Borthwick passed away a few years after his wife died in 2002. He was survived by their son.