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Celebration of Life for Clare Hollingworth

Celebration of Life
Clare Hollingworth:
Thursday, January 19, 2017
FCC Main Dining Room
6:00pm – 8:00pm
FCC provides complimentary canapés
Drinks on members’ accounts
The legendary Clare Hollingworth, 1911-2017
– Patrick Garrett, Anna Fenton, Paul Bayfield

The FCC’s legendary Correspondent member, Clare Hollingworth, who spent her entire working life travelling the world reporting war and conflict, passed away at home in Hong Kong in January at the very venerable of age 105.

Hollingworth, often hailed as the “doyenne of Foreign Correspondents”, forged a remarkable career as a foreign correspondent, beginning with the scoop of the century when she reported the start of World War II from Poland in September 1939 while working as a stringer for London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

She was a dedicated journalist who overcame gender barriers to report from the front lines of major conflicts in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Vietnam. She lived her final four decades in Hong Kong after being one of the few Western journalists to report on the Cultural Revolution from China in the 1970s.

Hollingworth had celebrated her 105th birthday in October last year at the FCC. “We are very sad to hear about Clare’s passing. She was a tremendous inspiration to us all and a treasured member of our club. We were so pleased that we could celebrate her 105th birthday with her this past year,” FCC president Tara Joseph said.

Best known as a Daily Telegraph correspondent, Hollingworth wrote for many publications during her long career, including The Economist, The Observer, Manchester Guardian, Daily Express, International Herald Tribune and Asian Wall Street Journal.

Charles Moore, the editor of the Daily Telegraph described Clare as one the Telegraph’s most distinguished servants and an inspiration to all foreign correspondents and all women in journalism. Other tributes from the Telegraph included:

Kate Adie, the veteran BBC war correspondent said Hollingworth was “a pioneer” for women in journalism who did not stop after her great scoop, went on to have a “a lifetime of journalism, full of adventure, good stories and terrific attention to detail and fact. She was a role model, without being aware of it.

Robert Fox, the Telegraph’s former defence and chief foreign correspondent, described Hollingworth as amazing and steadfast. “After the Falklands I remember she took me to lunch and asked me about the state of the British Army. She used to take the trouble to come over to me, she was always interested and took a great deal of interest in younger reporters.”

The BBC’s John Simpson, who first met Clare in 1978, described her as a journalist who people trusted. “She interviewed the Shah of Iran in 1941, just after we had put him on the throne, and she was the only person he would speak to before he died – because he trusted her. I consider her one the finest journalists of the 20th century, along with Martha Gellhorn and one or two others. I shall miss her memory more than I can say.”

Chris Patten, who knew Hollingworth when he was Hong Kong governor, said, “Clare was quite literally one of the greatest journalists of the 20th century. She was a great buccaneer, brave, witty and wise. “She covered some of the greatest stories of the last century with imitable dash and, on top of all that, she was kind and lovable.”

Patrick Garrett, her biographer and great-nephew, said, “At 105 we had begun to wonder if Clare was one of the immortals. However, she got a cold around Christmas and obviously it is an extra concern with the elderly. We assumed she’d fight it off but it was to be her last Christmas.

“She was far from home but she’d been abroad most of her life. Seventy-eight years ago in Nazi Austria and most years since on foreign soil.”

Garrett, in his biography of Hollingworth, “Of fortune and war” published in July last year, described her first taste of war: “27-year-old Clare collared one of the scoops of the century by borrowing the flagged diplomatic car of the British consul-general in Katowice (with whom she’d had a fling, extra-marital for both of them) on the Polish-German border, driving probably in breach of the rules into Germany and by chance seeing masses of Wehrmacht tanks readying for action. When a couple of days later the tanks rolled into Poland, Clare’s first account of world war breaking out was denied – by a disbelieving Polish government.”

What is far less well known is what Hollingworth was doing immediately before she walked into the offices of the Daily Telegraph in Fleet Street in August 1939 and asked for, and got, a job. “The fact is during the spring and summer that year Clare played an important part in rescuing around three thousand people from under the very noses of the Nazis.” These were refugees facing immediate arrest, or worse, as the Nazis tightened their grip on eastern Europe. Clare’s job was to try to help these very frightened people who were on the Nazis’ wanted list to find a safe haven. This she did despite nightmarish logistical difficulties, lack of funds and baulky bureaucracies. It is an amazing account of sheer, bloody-minded persistence on Hollingworth’s part – qualities that would serve her splendidly in her journalism. It was clearly “fiendishly difficult and dangerous work that deserved gratitude and recognition far beyond the modest OBE she received from the British government much later in life.”

After her journalistic coup on the Polish-German border, Clare had hair’s-breadth escapes from the rapidly advancing German forces, experiences which did nothing to quench her thirst for action and adventure. Far from it. And the outbreak of World War II was by no means her only scoop. Another notable success was breaking the story of double agent Kim Philby’s defection to Moscow.

Throughout her subsequent career she repeatedly impressed or shamed her male correspondent peers with her sang-froid and apparent fearlessness. “It was manic story-chasing and a perverse pleasure in warfare. This relentless hunt for conflict and adventure would become a way of life for Clare, and ultimately it is what defined her as a person.”

Hollingworth was born October 10, 1911, to a middle-class family in the village of Knighton in Leicestershire, England. Her father ran a boot factory founded by her grandfather. She took brief courses in Croatian at Zagreb University, international relations in Switzerland and Slavonic studies in London. She worked as a secretary and then at a British refugee charity in Poland while writing occasional articles about the looming war in Europe, before landing the job with the Daily Telegraph that was to launch her remarkable career.

When Clare moved to Hong Kong in 1981 it was supposed to be temporary. She was researching a book on The Great Helmsman (Mao and the Men Against Him) and had secured a research position at HKU’s Centre of Asian Studies. She never planned to stay, but was intrigued by the negotiations over Hong Kong’s future. Finally she decided to sit it out until the Handover. She never left.

Undoubtedly one reason she opted for Hong Kong was the FCC. Describing the Club as a “second home” for some members may be an old cliché. But for Clare it soon became her first home. Widowed in 1965 she lived for journalism, and was frankly obsessed with following “the story”. She lived modestly – university accommodation at first, later an un-renovated one-room flat. But in the FCC Main Bar there was always someone – local insiders, out-of-towners, and reporters from the 20th century’s wars – to exchange gossip and memories.

A one minute silence was observed in the Main Bar and a service to celebrate Clare’s life will held in the Club on Thursday, January 19. Tributes to Clare and her achievements can be found on the FCC website at


‘King of votes’ Eddie Chu hopes for democratic self-determination majority in Legco within eight years

Newly-elected lawmaker Eddie Chu gave his first speech in English to the FCC. Newly-elected lawmaker Eddie Chu gave his first ever speech in English to the FCC.

Eddie Chu, the newly-elected lawmaker who gained the largest number of votes of all of Hong Kong’s constituencies in the recent elections, spoke of his hope to achieve a majority of seats for ‘self-determination’ candidates at Legco in the next four to eight years.

Fielding some tough questions from members of the international press who had attended an October 11 luncheon at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong where he was guest speaker, ‘king of votes’ Chu said the only way for the city’s residents to have real bargaining power with Beijing over potential changes to the Basic Law would be to have the majority on the Legislative Council.

Eddie Chu speaks to a packed FCC audience. Eddie Chu speaks to a packed FCC audience.

Chu, who is fighting for democratic self-determination for the people of Hong Kong, told the audience that he felt obliged to step in and fill the ‘big hole’ that the Pan Democrats, whom he described as ‘falling apart’, had left in Legco. He said he wanted to build a bigger political network to fight China’s Communist Party that will forge more connections with pro-democracy groups in Taiwan, mainland China and Thailand, where activist Joshua Wong was recently denied entry.

The incoming politician, who spoke the day before he was due to take his oath, was asked by BBC reporter Andrew Wood what he would actually do with that self determination if he did manage to achieve a majority in Legco.

“Our situation is pretty much like Taiwan, so we have pro-unification and pro-independence. Within the camp of the Pan Democrats and also self-determination we have in our platform political ideas about autonomy, preservation of the environment and social welfare.”

However, he added that foreign press are generally more interested in the struggle for democracy rather than policies.

Tribute to Clare Hollingworth

Clare Hollingworth, 1911 – 2017

Dear Members,

The FCC is very sad to announce the passing of its much beloved member Clare Hollingworth at age 105.

Clare had a remarkable career as a foreign correspondent, beginning with the scoop of the century when she reported the start of World War II.

FCC president Tara Joseph said: “We are very sad to hear about Clare’s passing. She was a tremendous inspiration to us all and a treasured member of our club. We were so pleased that we could celebrate her 105th birthday with her this past year.”

To mark Clare’s passing, we will hold a minute of silence this evening at 6:30 PM, throughout the Club. Members and guests are respectfully asked to join us in observing this minute of silence in honour of her memory.

A formal memorial service to celebrate Clare’s life is being prepared, and details will be published once arrangements have been finalised.

For now, please join us in extending heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.

Tara Joseph


Invitation for specialists on House Committee

Dear Members


Invitation for specialists on House Committee


The FCC would like to reach out to members with strong experience working as project managers on building projects to join the House Committee as it prepares for a number of capital projects in the coming year. We are seeking individuals with professional experience who can devote time to scrutinizing contractors and assist in the preparation of tender documents. Projects include a refurbishment of the main dining room to take place next summer; a short list of interested designers has been identified and the committee is in the process of preparing a referral-for-proposal. In addition, the club plans a significant upgrade of its audio visual systems and would welcome input from members with professional experience in the field.


If you are interested to get involved, please contact Joanne Chung on [email protected] with a cover letter/CV outlining your relevant professional experience.


Simon Pritchard
House Committee convener & Club Secretary

Clare Hollingworth’s 105th Birthday Party

Friends are invited to toast the grande
doyenne of war correspondents on
Monday, October 10, 2016
In the Bunker
Canapés by FCC, drinks on members’ own accounts
Please let us know if you would like to come, (tel) 2521 1511
(fax) 2868 4092 or (email) [email protected]


The FCC Full Menu is Back

Thank you for your patience during our renovation over the summer.
We are pleased to report that from Tuesday, 11 October 2016, the FCC is back
with our full menu, a refreshed and revitalized BERT’S BAR and
a full music programme.
Free glass of bubbly ~ GOSSET Champagne
In Bert’s Bar from 6:30pm on Tuesday, 11 October
(Limited seats available on a first come, first served basis)
The food you missed returns ~
Vegetable Samosas with Spicy Mint Dip
Poached Salmon Cubes and Papaya Salad
Shepherd’s Pie
Sweet & Sour Pork
Canadian Angus Rib Eye Steak
Rhubarb-Apple Crumble with Vanilla Sauce
and many more ……
Oktoberfest ~
An evening of German food and beers in Bert’s, accompanied by
our own Bavarian accordion player on Wednesday, 19 October 2016
The Red Stripes ~
Hong Kong’s premier ska, soul and funk band making their FCC
Debut in Bert’s on Saturday, 22 October 2016. Get your dancing shoes on!
The FCC is back to full strength. Tell your friends and come on down!


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