Clare Hollingworth

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Clare Hollingworth
Born (1911-10-10) 10 October 1911 (age 104)
Knighton, Leicester, England
Occupation Journalist

Clare Hollingworth (born 10 October 1911) is a British journalist and author who is noted as the first war correspondent to report the outbreak of World War II.


On 31 August 1939, Hollingworth had been working as a journalist for less than a week for The Daily Telegraph when she was sent to Poland to report on worsening tensions in Europe. Hollingworth persuaded the British Consul-General in Katowice, John Anthony Thwaites, to lend her his chauffeured car for a fact-finding mission into Germany.[1] While driving along the German-Polish border, Hollingworth chanced upon a massive build-up of German troops, tanks and armoured cars facing Poland. The following morning Hollingworth called the British embassy in Warsaw to report the German invasion of Poland. To convince doubtful embassy officials, Hollingworth held a telephone out of her room window to capture the sounds of German forces.[1] Hollingworth's eyewitness account was the first report the British Foreign Office had about the invasion of Poland.[2]

During the following decades, Hollingworth reported on conflicts in Palestine, Algeria, China, Aden and Vietnam.[2] In 1946 she was among the survivors of the King David Hotel bombing in Jerusalem that killed 91 people.[3]

John Simpson described her as the reporter who did the first interview with the Shah of Iran, and, decades later, the last interview with him too: "she was the only person he wanted to speak to".[4]

She is the author of five books: The Three Weeks' War in Poland (1940), There's a German Right Behind Me (1945), The Arabs and the West (1950), Mao (1985), and her memoirs, Front Line (1990, updated with Neri Tenorio in 2005).

Personal life[edit]

Hollingworth was married twice. She married Vandeleur Robinson in 1936 and they divorced in 1951. She then married Geoffrey Hoare in 1951. Hoare died in 1965. Hollingworth has one stepdaughter from her second marriage.[5]

By 1939, Hollingworth was selected to fight the parliamentary seat of Melton for the Labour Party in the general election that was due to take place by 1940.[6] Because of the outbreak of war the election was postponed, and by the 1945 election a different Labour candidate had been chosen.

Since the early 1980s, Hollingworth has lived in Hong Kong. She is a near-daily visitor to the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong, where she is an honorary goodwill ambassador.[2] She celebrated her 100th birthday there on 10 October 2011.[7]

In 2006 Hollingworth sued her financial manager, fellow Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club member Thomas Edward Juson (also known as Ted Thomas), for the removal of nearly $300,000 from her bank account.[8] Juson defended his actions as investments, but agreed to repay the money in 2007. He had not yet done that in late 2011.[9][10]

In October 2015 she marked her 104th birthday in Hong Kong.[11]


  • The Three Weeks' War in Poland (1940)
  • There's a German Just Behind Me (1945)
  • The Arabs and the West (1950)
  • Mao and the Men Against Him (1984)
  • Front Line (memoirs) (1990)


  1. ^ a b Malcolm Moore, "Second World War 70th anniversary: The Scoop ", The Daily Telegraph, 30 August 2009
  2. ^ a b c Addley, Esther, "A foreign affair", Profile, The Guardian, Saturday 17 January 2004
  3. ^ Segev, Tom; "Scoop of the century", Haaretz, 4 September 2009.
  4. ^ Lo Dico, Joy (9 October 2015). "The woman who broke the news of WW2". London Evening Standard. p. 16. 
  5. ^ Hollingworth, Clare, Front Line, Jonathan Cape Ltd, 1990 ISBN 0-224-02827-8
  6. ^ Report of the Annual Conference of the Labour Party, 1939
  7. ^ Evans, Annemarie (10 October 2011). "WWII scoop journalist Clare Hollingworth turns 100". BBC. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "HK reporter famous for World War II scoop in legal spat", The Taipei Times, 4 May 2006, pp5
  9. ^ Hartley, Emma (22 October 2009). "Doyenne of war correspondents parted from life’s savings". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Called to Account". China Daily. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  11. ^ Peter Foster, The Telegraph, 09 Oct 2015, "Clare Hollingworth, the foreign correspondent who broke news of Second World War, turns 104" [1]

External links[edit]