British journalist Clare Hollingworth was just 27 when she reported the scoop of the 20th century: the outbreak of World War II.|
Hollingworth, who died Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Hong Kong at age 105, became the first journalist to break the news that Nazi Germany was invading Poland in 1939.
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At the time, the cub reporter was working as a stringer for The Daily Telegraph. According to the paper, she was staying at a hotel in Katowice, Poland, when she heard anti-aircraft fire.
"Opening her window to hear the roar of bombers overhead," the Telegraph reported, "she rang the paper's Warsaw correspondent Hugh Carleton Greene; he was assured by a sleepy official at the foreign ministry that it must be an exercise because talks were still going on.
"Next she rang the second secretary at the embassy: 'The war has begun.'
'Are you sure, old girl?" he asked.
'Listen!" she commanded, holding the receiver outside the window. 'Can't you hear it?'"
The next edition reported her scoop of a lifetime.
"1,000 TANKS MASSED ON POLISH FRONTIER," reads the headline over the story "FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT."
Hollingworth, who was born Oct. 10, 1911, in Knighton, England, went on to cover the news from the front lines of major world conflicts including Vietnam, the Middle East, and North Africa, for the British print media.
The Daily Telegraph made her the first journalist to be stationed permanently in Beijing, China, in 1973, the start of the country's cultural revolution. She ended up moving to Hong Kong in 1981 and continued reporting well into her 80s.
In 1982, she was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her exemplary journalism career.
She was a longtime member of Hong Kong's Foreign Correspondents' Club, where she celebrated her 105th birthday last year with a party.