Clare Hollingworth OBE (1911 - 2017)

The first war correspondent to break the story of World War II.

Born in 1911 in Knighton, Leicester, Clare went onto to be made an OBE for her services to journalism.

She had a keen interest in European politics and won a scholarship to the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London, and later, a place at Zagreb University to study Croatian.

Following the 1938 Munich Agreement, she went to Warsaw, working with Czech refugees. Between March and July 1939 she helped rescue thousands of people from Hitler's forces by arranging British visas. The experience also led to her being hired by Arthur Wilson, the editor of The Daily Telegraph, in August 1939.

Hollingworth had been working as a Telegraph journalist for less than a week when she was sent to Poland to report on worsening tensions in Europe. She persuaded the British Consul-General in Katowice, John Anthony Thwaites, to lend her his chauffeured car for a fact-finding mission into Germany. While driving along the German–Polish border on 28 August, Hollingworth observed a massive build-up of German troops, tanks and armoured cars facing Poland, after the camouflage screens concealing them were disturbed by wind. Her report was the main story on the Daily Telegraph's front page on the following day.

On 1 September 1939, Hollingworth called the British embassy in Warsaw to report the German invasion of Poland. To convince doubtful embassy officials, she held a telephone out of the window of her room to capture the sounds of German forces. Hollingworth's eyewitness account was the first report the British Foreign Office received about the invasion of Poland.

She continued to report from Poland throughout 1940 working for the Daily Express then, in 1941, she went to Egypt, and subsequently reported from Turkey, Greece and Cairo.

During the post-war decades, Hollingworth reported on conflicts in Palestine, Algeria, China, Aden and Vietnam.The BBC stated that although she was not the earliest woman war correspondent, "her depth of technical, tactical and strategic insight set her apart." The New York Times described her as "the undisputed doyenne of war correspondents". She amassed considerable expertise in military technology and – after pilot training during the 1940s – was particularly knowledgeable about aircraft.

Hollingworth worked for various newspapers throughout the 1950s and 60s including the Economist, Guardian, Observer and Telegraph.

In 1973, she became the Telegraph's China correspondent, the first since the formation of the People's Republic of China in 1949. She met Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong's wife Jiang Qing. She was the last person to interview the Shah of Iran; the journalist John Simpson commented that "She was the only person he wanted to speak to".

In 1981 she retired and moved to Hong Kong, also spending time in Britain, France and China. She observed the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 from a hotel balcony.

She passed away in January 2017.

Awards and honors

In 1962, Hollingworth won Woman Journalist of the Year for her reporting of the civil war in Algeria (Hannen Swaffer Awards, UK). She won the James Cameron Award for Journalism (1994). In 1999, she received a lifetime achievement award from the UK television programme What the Papers Say. In 1982, she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to journalism. On 10 October 2017, Google showed a 'Doodle' for her 106th birthday.

Information taken from Wikipedia