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Clare Hollingworth: British war correspondent dies aged 105

(UDHAYAM, HONGKONG) – Clare Hollingworth, the veteran British war correspondent who broke the news of the Nazi invasion of Poland, has died in Hong Kong at the age of 105.

Hollingworth, who was born in Leicester in 1911, was the first to report on the invasion that triggered the outbreak of World War Two.

She went on to report from Vietnam, Algeria and the Middle East.

Hollingworth was a rookie reporter for the Daily Telegraph when she fell upon “the scoop of the century”.

It was she who spotted German forces amassed on the Polish border while travelling from Poland to Germany in 1939.

The Daily Telegraph headline read: “1,000 tanks massed on Polish border. Ten divisions reported ready for swift strike” – but it did not carry her byline, a common practice for newspapers at the time.

She scored another scoop when the Nazis launched their invasion three days later.

A later exclusive, about the British spy Kim Philby, was spiked by The Guardian in 1963.

Convinced Philby was part of the spy ring that included Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, she wrote that he had defected to Russia only to have her story put on ice for three months.

Before becoming a reporter, Hollingworth helped rescue thousands of people from Hitler’s forces by arranging British visas.

Margo Stanyer, one of those she helped, remembered her on Tuesday as “a grand lady who was in the right place at the right time”.

The reporter narrowly escaped death herself in 1946 when a bomb blast destroyed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

Nearly 100 people died in the explosion, from which she was just 300 yards away.

‘Tremendous inspiration’

Hollingworth received the James Cameron Award for Journalism in 1994 and a lifetime achievement award at the What the Papers Say awards in 1999.

The journalist, who was married twice, lived her last four decades in Hong Kong after working from Beijing in the 1970s.

In later life she was a regular at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) in Hong Kong, where she celebrated her 105th birthday last October.

A statement on the Celebrate Clare Hollingworth Facebook page read: “We are sad to announce that after an illustrious career spanning a century of news… Clare Hollingworth died this evening.”

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