A Legendary Journalist is Gone

Ronald E. Yates is an author of award-winning historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy.

I learned yesterday that Clare Hollingworth, one of the toughest, most determined, and inexhaustible war correspondents who ever lived, passed away in her Hong Kong home.

She was 105 years old, so it shouldn’t have come as a shock. But having known the unconquerable and doughty Clare, I just assumed she would live forever.

I first met Clare Hollingworth in 1985 during my second posting in Tokyo as the Chicago Tribune’s Chief Asia Correspondent and Tokyo Bureau Chief. I was introduced to Clare by London Times correspondent Peter Hazelhurst.

imageClare Hollingworth around 1985

Along with a few dozen other hacks, we were in the bar of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. We chatted a few minutes and then Peter mentioned that Clare’s first story was perhaps the biggest scoop of the Twentieth Century: namely, the beginning of World War II.

You can read about that in the Associated Press obituary I have appended below.

After our meeting in the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, I saw Clare several more times as we covered stories throughout Asia. During occasional stopovers in Hong Kong, I would see Clare at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondent’s Club.

One of my quirkiest memories of Clare was in 1989 during the bloody Tiananmen Square uprising and massacre. I was in the square interviewing some student leaders who were camped out there and when I noticed Clare walking alone nearby in her de rigueur tan safari suit.

Clare was barely five-feet tall and nearly 80 years old and I watched her walk over to a lamp post and shinny part-way up to get a better view of the packed square.

That was Clare’s indomitable spirit in spades.

Read more about Clare Hollingworth’s amazing career below.


HONG KONG (AP) – As German tanks encircled the Polish