Second World War 70th anniversary: The Scoop

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She was on her first Telegraph assignment and only 26 when she spotted German tanks invading Poland. Now 97, Clare Hollingworth talks to Malcolm Moore.

Seventy years ago, a sleek limousine crossed the border of Poland and Germany and sped along the autobahn between Beuthen and Gleiwitz. Inside was a 26-year-old reporter on her first assignment for The Daily Telegraph, who was about to break the scoop of the century.

Once past Gleiwitz, the road began to climb a hill. Clare Hollingworth, now nearly 98 years old, suddenly caught sight of 65 German motorcycle dispatch riders, who overtook her car and sped away with a roar. As she looked to the side, a gust of wind lifted up the hessian sheets that had been strung alongside the road.

That was when she spied hundreds of tanks, armoured cars and field artillery – von Rundstedt's 10th Army and its Panzer Corps – massed in the valley below, waiting to roll into Poland and begin the Second World War.

Hollingworth filed the story that appeared on Tuesday, August 29, on The Daily Telegraph's front page, underneath the headline: "1,000 tanks massed on Polish border. Ten divisions reported ready for swift stroke." She went on to write: "The German military machine is now ready for instant action."

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