Long House Studio

The Life And Career Of Second World War Writer Alastair Borthwick

Born and raised in Troon, Scotland, Alastair Borthwick is eulogized as one of the country’s best writer and broadcaster. He is particularly famous for his novel ‘Always a Little Further’ published in 1939 and numerous other pieces and books he wrote during the second world war. Before the war, most of his articles and books focused on mountaineering and hill climbing before switching perspective and writing about the war from an infantryman and captain’s point of view at the advent of the war.

How did he get into writing?

Alastair Borthwick’s career started taking shape soon after graduating high school, aged 16 when he joined the city’s Evening Times as a copytaker. He would join the budding Glasgow Weekly Herald soon after. The fact the paper was still on its developmental stages meant that he didn’t have defined roles here, at one time he would be editing Children and women content, compiling the crossword or addressing customer queries.

He soon landed a page where he addressed such hobbies as mountaineering and hill climbing across the country. According to Borthwick, mountaineering was popular among his countrymen given its inexpensive nature and the high levels of unemployment in the country. His success with the page would unlock career doors for the writer.

Moving to London and working with BBC

In 1935, Alastair Borthwick moved to London and secured a position with the Daily Mirror. He was however almost always on the lookout for new opportunities and this landed him a talk show with BBC Radio, marking the start of his broadcasting career. His producer at the corporation described him as an incredibly gifted speaker and modest in describing his capabilities.

War and authorship

Alastair mentions that his books and articles were by far inspired by his life experience. His all-famous Always a little further book was for instance inspired by his love for mountaineering and hill climbing. His consecutive books and pieces of articles were inspired by his experience by the two roles, Infantryman and captain, he served during the second world war. Some of his more popular books include Sans Peur (1946) that serves as a recollection of his stories from his days at the battalion.