By Cari Ross
Illustration Allan Goddard
On January 10, 2017 journalist Clare Hollingworth passed away at the age of 105. Today, most people have no idea what this extraordinary woman contributed to journalism and women’s place in it. She is a figure of courage, history and indomitable resolve.
It was the ‘Scoop of the Century.’ In 1939, Hollingworth was working for The Daily Telegraph. As she traveled alone through Poland, she noticed endless rows of German artillery tanks lined up on the Polish border. She is credited as the journalist who ‘announced’ the beginning of World War II and securing the evacuation of 3500 Jews and dissidents.
Even though female war correspondents did not receive formal accreditations like their male counterparts, Hollingworth still managed to cover news from Romania, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Algiers, where she covered the front lines with General Eisenhower. Later, she turned her sights to Palestine, Iraq and Persia, where she was the first journalist to interview the Shah of Iran. Later in her career, she covered the Vietnam War, became the Telegraph’s first China correspondent since the formation of the People’s Republic and received the OBE from Queen Elizabeth.
“It was the Scoop of the Century. Hollingworth is credited as the journalist
who announced the beginning of World War II”
If this isn’t enough to inspire women to accomplish their dreams, even if those dreams are not embraced, she built a network of female journalists, as she knew how important is was to support other women in the field. Later she retired and lived the rest of her life in Hong Kong where she was an indelible figure at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club. There, she would hold court with associates and admirers consuming beer for breakfast. Her nose for a story had not dimmed in her later years, and it was always said she kept her bag, shoes and writing materials close at hand in case of a breaking news story.
As a lover of history, I was so glad to be introduced to Clare Hollingworth, by my friend Lisa. I have also looked upon the 30s and 40s as a magical time when things were still black and white, good vs evil. I love all stories from this era, and it was wonderful to learn about such a courageous, unstoppable woman. Clare Hollingworth can inspire all of us to go after our dreams while supporting others and allowing all women to rise.♥
BIOGRAPHY ( a must read)
Of Fortunes and War: Clare Hollingworth, first of the correspondents by Patrick Garrett (2016)
(available on Amazon)
BOOKS by Clare Hollingworth
The Arabs and the West (1952), Mao and the Men against him (1985), Frontline (1990)
“Many of us who have come afterwards, and the generations afterwards, look back and are proud to remember that it is not us pioneering, it’s them. It’s Clare and that band of women who really did it for us.” -Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent.