Debate Magazine

War Correspondent Clare Hollingworth Turned 100 Today

Posted on the 10 October 2011 by Mikeb302000
She broke the news of World War II:
It was August 1939 and the world was rushing towards war.
“I must admit that I enjoy being in a war,” says Hollingworth. “When we were small children, my father used to take us to the Battle of Bosworth Field. When I was very small, in World War One, I used to hear people talk about the battles, and I did become extremely interested in warfare. I’m not brave, I just enjoy it.”
The scoop that defines her career is best described by herself in a previous interview: “I was staying with the British consul-general in Katowice, who was an old friend, and I knew the border was closed, but it was open to flagged cars, to enable the Germans to get into Poland. So I said to him, 'May I borrow your car?’ And he said, 'Where do you want to go, old girl?’ and I said, 'I want to go into Germany’. And he said, 'Aren’t you a funny old girl. Of course you can borrow my car’.
“The border guard was a bit surprised when they saw the Union flag flying on the car, but they let me in. I stopped to buy aspirin and white wine and things you couldn’t get inside Poland. And then I was driving back along a valley and there was a hessian screen up so you couldn’t look down into the valley. Suddenly, there was a great gust of wind which blew the sacking from its moorings, and I looked into the valley and saw scores, if not hundreds, of tanks.
“So when I got back I said, 'Thank you for lending me your car’. And he said 'Where did you go, old girl?’ So I said, 'I went into Germany’. He said, 'Stop being funny’. And I said, 'What’s more, I got a very good story: the tanks are already lined up for invasion of Poland.’ He went upstairs and sent a top secret message to the Foreign Office.”
Hollingworth contacted Hugh Carleton Greene, the Telegraph’s correspondent in Warsaw, and he filed the story. Three days later, on September 1, the panzers rolled into Poland.
“I remember telephoning Robin Hankey, the secretary at the embassy in Warsaw, and saying, 'The war’s begun’. He said, 'Rubbish, they’re still negotiating’. And I said, 'Can’t you hear it?’ So I hung the telephone out the window so he could listen to the Germans invading.”

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog