Ross McWhirter

Ross McWhirter

Journalist, writer, creator of the Guinness Book of Records
Date of Birth: 12.08.1925
Country: Great Britain

  1. Biography of Ross McWhirter
  2. Education and Military Service
  3. Journalism Career
  4. The Guinness Book of Records
  5. Political Involvement
  6. Death

Biography of Ross McWhirter

Ross McWhirter was a journalist, writer, creator of the Guinness Book of Records, and a participant in the television show "Record Breakers." He was born into the family of William McWhirter, the editor of the Sunday Pictorial newspaper, and his wife Margaret "Bunty" Williamson.

Ross McWhirter

Education and Military Service

Like his brothers, Ross attended Marlborough College and Trinity College, Oxford. From 1943 to 1946, he served in the Royal Navy aboard a minesweeper operating in the Mediterranean Sea.

Journalism Career

In 1950, Ross and his brother Norris became sports journalists. In 1951, they published the book "Get To Your Marks" and founded an agency that provided facts and data for newspapers, encyclopedias, yearbooks, and advertisers. It was during their time as sports journalists that the McWhirter brothers met Christopher Chataway, a Guinness employee and runner, who recommended them to Hugh Beaver.

The Guinness Book of Records

In 1954, after passing interviews to showcase their knowledge of interesting facts and records, the McWhirter brothers started working on the first edition of the Guinness Book of Records. The first version of the book, a 198-page green booklet, was released in August 1955 and quickly became a non-fiction bestseller in the UK. Ross and Norris McWhirter were regularly invited to the show "Record Breakers" due to their photographic memory and ability to provide precise answers regarding the Guinness Book of Records.

Political Involvement

In the early 1960s, Ross McWhirter was a member of the Conservative Party and even attempted, unsuccessfully, to run in elections. In 1975, he founded the National Association for Freedom, an organization that focused on legal control of British trade unions, participated in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and engaged in activities related to the European Economic Community. McWhirter advocated for restrictions on Irish residents in the UK, requiring them to register at local police stations and provide signed photographs when renting accommodation or staying in hotels.


In 1975, Ross McWhirter was fatally shot by two IRA volunteers, Harry Duggan and Hugh Doherty, near his own home. He was rushed to the hospital but did not survive. The shooters were apprehended, and during further investigation, they were charged with nine additional murders and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1998, Duggan and Doherty were released as part of the Belfast Agreement.