Reading about the recent untimely death of foreign correspondent Marie Colvin in war-torn Syria I was reminded of Somervillian Evelyn Irons . Both women were fearless in their determination to report from war zones and both were very often reported to be the first journalists into a war zone and the last to leave. Irons was a student at Somerville between 1918 and 1921 and a keen tennis player, captaining the University team in 1920. She went on to become a journalist particularly a war correspondent during the Second World War, working for papers in New York and London. In 1945 she won the Croix de Guerre for her work in France. She was one of the first reporters to reach liberated Paris and also one of the first to reach Hitler’s Berchtesgaden retreat. Despite her fearless reporting, she is perhaps better known for being the lover of Vita Sackville-West for a short time in the 1930s. Irons survived her wartime experiences, and lived until two months before her 100th birthday. She died in New York in 2000.
Evelyn Irons – War correspondent and Tennis Captain