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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. H Harkness

Hill Harkness was born on 28th March 1911 at his family home, 28 Ardculee Avenue, Belfast. His parents were John Bell Harkness (1868-1933) and Martha Harkness (nee Hill 1868-1960).

The family firm was John B Harkness, cartage contractors.

Harkness joined the RAF on a short service commission in December 1930. He was posted to 2 FTS Digby on 10th January 1931 and, with his training completed, he went to 54 Squadron at Hornchurch on 29th December 1931.

He joined the staff at the School of Naval Co-operation at Lee-on-Solent on 6th January 1935 and at the end of his engagement he went on to Class ‘A’ of the RAFO on 29th December 1937.

In early 1939 he was living in Godstone, Surrey and working as a flying instructor at Redhill.

Recalled in October 1939, Harkness went to 12 FTS Grantham on 13th November as a Flight Commander of the Intermediate Training Squadron. He arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge for a refresher course on 8th June 1940.

After converting to Hurricanes Harkness was posted to 257 Squadron at Hendon on 6th July as a supernumerary, and he took command at Northolt on 22nd July 1940. He probably destroyed a Do17 on 12th August and shared in the destruction of a Ju88 on the 13th.

He was posted away on 12th September 1940 to the A&AEE Boscombe Down for flying duties. He went to 2 FTS Brize Norton on 1st October 1940 and joined 10 FTS Ternhill on 24th October as OC 2 Squadron. In 1941 he was posted to Canada.

Harkness resigned his commission on 4th December 1943. He later lived at various addresses in the London area and died in Chichester, Sussex in April 2002.



His brother Sgt. Archibald Harkness was killed serving with 158 Squadron on 14th July 1942.

Halifax II DG227 NP-Q came down in the North Sea off Great Yarmouth on a raid to Duisburg.

Also lost were:

Sgt. C Craft
Sgt. EG Dodd
Sgt. WJ Mass
Sgt. RG Fewtrell
Sgt. NWS Cantell



Battle of Britain Monument