My history hero: Philip Pembroke Stephens (1903–37)

Chosen by John Simpson, journalist

"A genuine hero of 20th-century reporting." John Simpson admires the bravery and honesty of Philip Pembroke Stephens, pictured here in c1925. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the June 2010 edition of BBC History Magazine

Philip Pembroke Stephens was a fearless foreign correspondent of the 1930s. He was born in 1894 and educated at Gresham’s School in Norfolk as well as the University of Cambridge. Stephens dabbled in a couple of different professions before deciding on journalism. He was Daily Express correspondent in Vienna, Paris and Berlin, where he stood out for his objective reporting. The Nazi authorities arrested Stephens twice before expelling him from Germany in June 1934. In subsequent years Stephens covered the Spanish Civil War and the Japanese invasion of China. He was killed by a Japanese machine gun in Shanghai on 18 November 1937.

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