News / Asia

Foreign Correspondents Celebrate 100th Birthday of Reporting Legend

Clare Hollingworth observes the tributes being made to her at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong, October 10, 2011.
Clare Hollingworth observes the tributes being made to her at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong, October 10, 2011.

October 10th, 1911 marked the outbreak of the Chinese revolution. It also was the birthdate of a remarkable British woman, Clare Hollingworth, who would become one of the most prominent correspondents in the latter part of her life in Beijing and Hong Kong. On Monday evening, in the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong, she celebrated her 100th birthday.

Foreign Correspondents' Club

Clare Hollingworth sat impassively as the president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong, Anna Healy Fenton, raised a glass to mark the birthday of the club's oldest member:

"Very best wishes to Clare for reaching her century. Hip hip, hooray..."

Clare Hollingworth on the cover of the FCC's magazine in honor of her 100th birthday.
Clare Hollingworth on the cover of the FCC's magazine in honor of her 100th birthday.

Most of Hollingworth's colleagues toasting her 100th birthday were not even born when she achieved her first and most famous scoop. Despite being under Gestapo surveillance for her work aiding refugees, she risked entering Nazi Germany and spotted tanks rolling towards Poland, marking the start of the World War II.

Fearless

Time and again, Hollingworth took enormous risks to witness and report history for British newspapers during the African and Middle East campaigns of World War II, as well as latter conflicts in Algeria, Vietnam and elsewhere.

She survived the 1946 terrorists' bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.  

Her legendary fearlessness is no exaggeration says Patrick Garrett, who is finishing a biography about his great aunt.

"All the correspondents who I've interviewed and whose contemporary accounts of her on the front lines I've read that seems to be totally true. Clare is just one of these people who just isn't concerned by shot and shell."

Clare Hollingworth in her youth
Clare Hollingworth in her youth

Garrett notes that whenever British intelligence officers defected to the Soviet Union, Hollingworth seemed to be the first to report that as well.

"So she's got quite a track record in the world of espionage," he said. "And I've uncovered a few other interesting connections which I'll save for the book. But there are some surprising connections that certainly had me asking questions." 

She became one of the first western journalists to be accredited in Beijing after the Cultural Revolution and has lived in Hong Kong for the past 30 years.

Party

Perhaps after such a thrilling career it came as little surprise that Hollingworth professed to be underwhelmed at her birthday party.

"Not very exciting," she said, "I hope I behave."

That she did despite some imbibing of a bit of beer and champagne.

When asked by VOA News what she wanted most for her birthday,

"A dictionary...I've lost mine," she replied.

There is a good reason for that request. Hollingworth has never been hesitant to confess that despite all of her other skills as a journalist, she has never been a very good speller.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid