Alastair Borthwick was born in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire in 1913. His career began in Glasgow when he was a teenager. He worked for the Glasgow Evening Herald as a telephone boy prior to becoming an editor and writer for the same publication. He also compiled crosswords and contributed to the front page. He discovered the recreational scene of the city and began rock climbing.
In 1935, as per birlinn.co.uk, Alastair Borthwick went to work for the Daily Mirror as a reporter. When he was fired a year later, he went into the field of radio broadcasting. In 1934, he mentioned his love of rock climbing to his producer, James Fergusson. This led to a radio talk show and revealed his talent for broadcasting. His relaxed and friendly manner led to his first broadcast in 1934.
Alastair Borthwick served in World as II as an intelligence officer for the Seaforth Highlanders. He traveled 3,000 miles across Europe and North Africa in 1942. He helped in the invasion of Sicily after the defeat of Rommel. He assisted in securing the Holland’s canal zone prior to fighting in vicious battles in Germany before crossing the Rhine.
Alastair Borthwick escaped heavy shelling and mines in North Africa, tank ambushes in Sicily and combat and snipers in northern Europe. His most vivid memory was leading a group of 600 men through the darkness and past the front line in Germany. He navigated using maps known to be inaccurate. After the war, he moved to the Isle of Jura with his wife in 1945. He remained here for seven years before moving to Islay.
Scotland’s Secretary of State enlisted Alastair Borthwick for the Festival of Britain celebrations in 1951. He was responsible for the Festival of Heavy Engineering but the attendance was poor. His broadcasting career balked when television was introduced. The demand for his talent resumed due to the invention of the autocue and he began scripting documentaries.
Alastair Borthwick, an inspirational man, lived on a farm in Ayrshire for the next thirty years. He spent his last five years in Beith in a nursing home. He considered himself to be a journeyman writer, was always printable and never once missed a deadline.