Legendary journalist Clare Hollingworth, who was the first to report the German invasion of Poland in the Second World War, turned 105 this week and was honoured at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club on Monday.
Family and friends gathered to pay tribute to the former reporter, who is also credited with saving the lives of thousands of Eastern European refugees by helping them flee Hitler’s Nazi army.
Among the tributes was a poignant birthday message from Margo Stanyer, who was just four years old when she was rescued from Poland by Clare and helped to a new life in England.
“Clare was the one who helped these families to get out,” a tearful Margo said in a video played to a packed main bar. “Otherwise they would have been knocked off… killed… put into concentration camps.
“Without her help I would not be here”
It was August 31, 1939, when Clare was working as a new reporter for the The Daily Telegraph that she was sent to Poland to cover the worsening tensions in Europe. While there, she came across the build-up of German troops on the border and immediately called the British embassy in Warsaw to report the invasion of Poland.
Clare is also a celebrated writer, having published five books: The Three Weeks’ War in Poland (1940), There’s a German Just Behind Me (1945), The Arabs and the West (1950), Mao (1985), and her memoirs, Front Line (1990, updated with Neri Tenorio in 2005).
Among others to pay tribute were Britain’s foreign secretary and former Telegraph colleague, Boris Johnson; the British Consulate General in Hong Kong, Andrew Heyn OBE; the Director of Information Services in Hong Kong, Joe Wong; and the Daily Telegraph’s foreign desks in London and Washington.
Also in attendance were Clare’s great nephews, one of whom, Patrick Garrett, has published a book on his great aunt, Of Fortunes and War: Clare Hollingworth, First of the Female War Correspondents.