About the Authors
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Author Bios

Please note that six people contributed to the completion of this book project - the primary person being the original author of the WWI diaries, Captain Donald E. Harkness Sr., DSC, RNAS/RAF who died in 1929.  Compiling the huge collection of diaries, letters, sketches, and photographs he left behind into a book required the help of five of his descendants.  Copious and exacting transcriptions of hundreds of handwritten diary pages and letters into digital format was the first task shared equally by all.  In addition, each of us contributed our own unique specialties to the project helping to form a unique and compelling narrative, yet honoring completely the original author’s words and intent without embellishment of any kind.  We would also like to acknowledge the family members who have contributed to the production of this memoir such as the youngest of the Harkness siblings, Victoria who continues with her education.

Click the photo of the person you're interested in to see their brief bio.


Donald E Harkness, Sr.

 Captain Donald E. Harkness Sr., DSC, RNAS/RAF

The author of the original WWI diaries, was born in Nelson, New Zealand on August 27, 1894, where he was raised and educated. He interrupted his undergraduate studies in engineering to sail off to London, at age 21, in hopes of joining the nascent air service and defend his mother country against the Germans in WWI. Stationed in France with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) since early 1916, he soon specialized as a bomber pilot, and led many bombing raids, which included the raid that earned him the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), as well as his last raid that wounded him and damaged his plane, causing him to crash-land in Holland. There he was interned, and worked with the underground to help Belgian refugees and downed Allied pilots evade capture. Subsequent to WWI he completed his engineering degree at Canterbury College and obtained a position as consulting engineer for New York's Bear Mountain Bridge project. After returning to New Zealand in early 1925, he was appointed Lecturer in Civil Engineering at the Auckland University School of Engineering. In 1926 he married his NY landlord's daughter, and took on additional duties as Acting Head of the Department of Engineering. In 1929 he launched a new aerial delivery service in Auckland, intending in time to include all of New Zealand and Australia. However, on December 12, 1929, he and his mechanic drowned when the seaplane they were test-piloting for this new venture suddenly failed and crashed into Auckland Harbor. ×

Donald E Harkness

 Captain Donald E. Harkness, USAF Intelligence Language Officer (Retired)

The younger son of the N.Z. WWI pilot, and the husband of Janet A. Harkness, who was the first to discover and herald Don's diaries nestled, unread, in the family showcase. He is the father of the four House of Harkness male members listed below who collaborated with their father in the production of this book and also the father of the youngest, a daughter, Victoria (an English scholar). He is the custodian of his father's four handwritten, unpublished diaries, and numerous letters, personal sketches and photographs. His own military career was also exciting but far removed from direct military action as a USAF Intelligence Language Officer working with a German-language team of interrogators of former Nazis, communists, illegal border crossers, and such like in Germany during the Korean conflict. Only recently, he retired as Superintendent of Schools of the Manhasset Public Schools, Manhasset NY, and, even more recently, as founder and executive director of EDUCORPS, a pro bono educational consulting service for NYS public schools.×

Christopher Harkness

Christopher Harkness

The youngest grandson of D.E. Harkness, Sr., served as the project's archivist, performed genealogical research, coordinated familial and professional contacts around the world, scanned most of his grandfather's post-war diaries, short stories and letters, and typed most of the initial transcriptions of these documents into digital format.×

Jeffrey T Harkness

Jeffrey Harkness

The second eldest grandson of D.E. Harkness, Sr., with a B.A. in biology, has had extensive professional experience in the global flavors and fragrances industry as an IT business systems analyst and project manager.  He created the biographical timeline and served as the book's technical project facilitator, presentation and book editor, marketing coordinator, researcher and proposal writer. Under Jeff's leadership he and his father have presented several PowerPoint lecture-discussions each to diverse and rapt audiences.×

Bruce W Harkness

Bruce Harkness

The eldest grandson of D.E. Harkness, Sr., is a network/systems engineer and long-term US expatriate working under contract in Asia. With a B.S. in Computer Studies and an M.S. in Business Management, he has meticulously researched the technical aspects of his grandfather's diaries and has included detailed annotations and commentaries that give background and illuminate the text. He is also a private pilot and longtime aviation enthusiast.×

Timothy Harkness

Timothy Harkness

The third eldest grandson of D.E. Harkness, Sr., with a B.A. in fine arts from Cooper Union, NYC, has been deeply involved in the creative marketing field for over 25 years with diverse experience designing, organizing and executing graphic arts in a multitude of consumer and business fields, working mostly for advertising agencies as an associate or as a consultant responsible for corporate branding, advertising, trade shows, presentations, web design, sales materials, etc. He also teaches art at two colleges several days a week. He produced the initial template presentation that is the basis of the book's lecture-discussions presented by his father and brother, designed the cover, much of the marketing material, and restored all of the photographs.×