David William Pearson Borthwick (1921-2000) was Mum, Uncle John and Aunt Anne’s eldest brother. He was a yachtsman, pilot, farmer, and great friend to many. A fourth generation Gippslander, he was born and spent his early years at Raeshaw, his parents’ sheep property at Fulham, near
On May 9, 1927, with his parents, David witnessed the opening of the Provisional Parliament building in
At nine, David went to
In 1940, David entered
Shortly after arriving in
On November 9, 1942, David was shot down by a Messerschmidt Me109. It was reported that his aircraft had crashed in flames, and that there was no chance of survival. However, he had parachuted clear of the plane, an instant before it crashed behind enemy lines.
He was severely wounded in both legs, and was unable to walk. Knowing that the British forces were advancing, he bandaged his legs with pieces of his parachute and set out, crawling backwards for four days in a sitting position, using his hands for propulsion. He survived by eating beetles, and drinking dew. On the fifth day he was found by two Bedouin who helped him reach and cross the British lines.
After more rehabilitation, he was posted to various bases in
During the next four years, he flew DC2s, DC3s, and the very rare DC5 on the
David was also one of the original members of what would eventually become the Metung Yacht Club.
In 1986, he bought Chindrina, a 26-foot yacht which he and his two sons, my Borthwick cousins Ian and Keith, sailed from
David Borthwick died on September 1, 2000, after having suffered a stroke, and was survived by his wife Jeanie, two sons, and six grandchildren.
Acknowledgment: This obituary was written by David’s son, Keith Borthwick, with the help of family and friends, and appeared in The Age newspaper (David and Jeanie also had a daughter, Janet, who was my godmother.
) on November 17, 2000. It is here slightly augmented. Melbourne
Janet got married at St. George’s Church of England, Malvern, to which ceremony I was allowed to go, wearing an extremely fetching pair of bottle-green velvet shorts, smocked white shirt, and a pair of red patent-leather buckled shoes. I vividly recall Uncle David’s tail coat, and spectacular collapsible silk top hat.