Hugh Lytle, whose teletype message provided the world with the first account of the attack on Pearl Harbour has died. He was 100.
Lytle, the Honolulu correspondent for the Associated Press and a reserve Army officer, was awakened by the Army on December 7, 1941 as Japanese planes bombed the US fleet.
He quickly left for his AP office at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, where he filed a brief account of the attack in progress, then reported for military duty with the Army.
Military censors clamped down shortly after Lytle’s dispatch, and virtually no official accounts of the Japanese attack were sent from Hawaii until much later that Sunday.
“Hugh Lytle heard twin calls to duty as Associated Press correspondent and Army reserve officer. Before the day was over and censorship clamped down, the Army won. Lytle was in uniform and on active duty,” the AP recalled in its 1941 annual report.
Lytle’s son David said his father “felt it was important to get the story out, but also important to protect the country”.
Lytle joined the Army’s intelligence unit, and spent much of the war as a military censor on the island of Oahu, his son said. He later earned a Bronze Star for risking his life when he led the 10th Army Information and Historical Service on Okinawa, a covert project documenting American military strategies.
Lytle also served as the co-administrator of the Hawaiian territory with Harry Albright. In 1945, Lytle and Albright joined the Honolulu Advertiser as co-managing editors, where Lytle was known as a conservative voice as opinion page editor until the early 1960s.
“He certainly had high ideals. He had strong opinions about right and wrong and was not loathe to express them,” said Albright’s wife, Janet.
Lytle left the paper to become press secretary for Hawaii Governor William Quinn, then retired in 1968 and moved to the island of Hawaii with his wife, Druzella “Drue” Lytle.
He died on August 16 in California and is survived by his son, David; a grandson, Douglas, who heads the Dow Jones news bureau in Prague, Czech Republic; and two great-grandchildren.
At his request, there was no funeral service and his ashes were scattered at sea beyond the Golden Gate Bridge.