City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

"Betrayal: The Murder of Robert Nairac GC" by Alistair Kerr

By Allan Alstead - Posted on 17 February 2016


This book by Alistair Kerr, "Betrayal: The Murder of Robert Nairac GC", is a disappointment. While the author has clearly done a great deal of research he has seen fit to try and blame someone who is dead for the handling of events leading up to the death of Robert Nairac. Rather than try to put the blame on to Colonel Clive Fairewather, it would have been so much better if the book had concentrated instead on the life of Robert Nairac and the events which led up to his death. All this additional conjecture and supposition which simply has no basis in established fact is distracting and misleading.

The title itself, "Betrayal" infers that Robert Nairac was let down by his fellow officers and soldiers in the army, although later in the book Kerr tries to limit this to certain individuals and the blame appears to fall squarely on Clive Fairweather.

The book is also critical of the SAS; a copy appears to have been passed to them and to the Ministry of Defence for clearance, however, any comments about the operations of the SAS is for them to make - perhaps they thought that this book would slip quietly into oblivion?

It appears to be clear from the book that anyone who was not connected to the aristocracy or who attended one of the better known public schools was not viewed with favour by the author. By doing this Mr Kerr is very much out of step with the majority of those in the country and he seems prepared to pursue a line that is out of step with thinking in the modern Britain.

Such comments (about Fairweather) that "he had a strong Lowland accent... spoke with a glottal stop... and sounded like an NCO" are unnecessary and out of place, particularly when linked with the comment that "most Scottish officers... spoke with cultured English accents...".

While everyone generally accepts that Nairac was an exceptionally brave and courageous officer, it is a great pity that the author should have spoiled his extensive research by eroding the book with misplaced and unsubstantiated assertions which cannot be disputed as the person accused has died and the victim is himself dead. All in all this is a wasted opportunity.