Tag Archives: Sans Peur

The Work of Alastair Borthwick

Alastair Borthwick was a well-known writer, journalist, and broadcaster in Scotland. He lived from 1913 to 2003. He was most well known for his books on Scottish people using climbing as a sport and pastime and his book told from the point of view of an infantryman during the Second World War. Alastair Borthwick will forever be remembered as one of the important people in Scotland’s history. 

Alastair Borthwick was born in Rutherglen, Scotland. He was raised in Glasgow. He attended Glasgow High School until he dropped out at age sixteen. He chose to drop out because he had been offered a job as a copy taker at the Evening Times. After his time there he went on to do work at another paper called the Glasgow Weekly Herald. When he wrote there, he wrote everything from front page news to articles for the women’s and children’s sections to crossword puzzles. While he was writing for the Glasgow Weekly Herald he came across the phenomena of Scottish working class taking up the sport of climbing as a pastime. This was unique as before then mainly only the wealthy would go on climbing and camping trips. Working class Scottish people achieved climbing as a pastime by hitchhiking or going together in a large group out to the country. Then they would either rough it camp or they’d stay in bothies. His first article on the subject change to being a regular column. The regular column turned in his book Always a Little Further. The book received critical acclaim when it was published in 1939.

The other book that Alastair is most well known for is his book called Sans Peur or Batallion. This book was written about his time serving as a junior officer on the frontline. It was a unique book for that fact since most books at the time were written from the point of view of higher-ups or committees in the war who were often not directly on the frontline. 

Alastair Borthwick died at the ripe old age of 90 after finishing off his professional life doing broadcast writing for radio and television. Because of Alastair’s prominent and critically acclaimed books that were important for telling the perspective of the working class or of a junior officer, he will be forever be remembered as an important author and journalist in Scotland’s history. You can find his books today to read for yourself his important works. 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/alastair-borthwick-gf0fkwlb07r