Toby Harnden

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Toby Harnden (born 14 January 1966[1]) is an Anglo-American journalist and author. He has been Managing Editor of the Washington Examiner since October 2018. He was Washington bureau chief of The Sunday Times from January 2013 until September 2018.[2] He previously spent 17 years at The Daily Telegraph, based in London, Belfast, Washington, Jerusalem and Baghdad, finishing as US Editor from 2006 to 2011,[3] and was also US Executive Editor of Mail Online and US Editor of the Daily Mail for a year in 2012. He is the author of two books: Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh (1999) and Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Defining Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan (2011). Dead Men Risen won the 2012 Orwell Prize for Books. He was reporter and presenter of the BBC Panorama Special programme Broken by Battle about suicide and PTSD among British soldiers, broadcast on July 15, 2013.[4]


Born at Bowlands maternity home,[5] in Portsmouth, Harnden grew up in Portsmouth, Harefield, Marple and Rusholme, Manchester. He attended Harrytown Comprehensive School in Bredbury, Cheshire and St Bede's College, Manchester.[6] He entered Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in January 1985 and passed out the following August. After studying Modern History at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, he graduated from Oxford University with a First in July 1988. While at the university, Harnden was Junior Common Room President of Corpus Christi in 1987, succeeding David Miliband.[7] Before becoming a journalist, Harnden was an officer in the Royal Navy, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant in 1994 [8] after service ashore and at sea in the assault ships HMS Fearless, and HMS Intrepid, the minesweeper HMS Itchen, the destroyers HMS Manchester and HMS Edinburgh and the frigate HMS Cornwall. During his training, he was an exchange officer with the Royal Norwegian Navy, helping to transport reindeer on troop landing craft. His final naval appointment was in the Ministry of Defence as Flag Lieutenant to the Second Sea Lord. In August 2009, he became an American citizen.[9] He is divorced and is the father of a daughter and son.[10][11]


Harnden has written two non-fiction books: Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh; and Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Defining Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan.

Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh, published by Hodder & Stoughton in November 1999, was critically acclaimed and sold more than 100,000 copies. It led to the formation of the Smithwick Tribunal, which Harnden declined to attend to give evidence in February 2012.[12]

Dead Men Risen was published by Quercus Books in March 2011.[13] Publication was delayed after the Ministry of Defence objected to certain passages on "security" grounds. The book had already been cleared for publication by the MOD after a four-month review process that Harnden had agreed to as part of a contract that provided him with access to the Welsh Guards. Following a legal dispute between the MOD and Quercus, the MOD agreed to purchase all 24,000 copies of the first print run of the book, at a cost to the UK taxpayer of £151,450, and oversee their pulping.[14] It was well reviewed and reached number four on The Sunday Times bestseller list.[15][16] In May 2012, it was awarded the Orwell Prize for books.[17][18]

Journalism career[edit]

Harnden began his career in journalism as a theatre reviewer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a writer of obituaries.

He began at The Daily Telegraph in 1994 as a home news reporter. He was posted to Belfast as the newspaper's Ireland Correspondent in March 1996, shortly after the IRA's first ceasefire had ended. He subsequently covered the IRA's second ceasefire, the Good Friday Agreement and the Omagh bombing of 1998 as well as numerous shootings, explosions, riots and negotiations.

From 1999 to 2003, Harnden was Washington Bureau Chief of The Daily Telegraph. He reported from Washington during the 9/11 terrorist attacks inf 2001.He became Middle East Correspondent of The Daily Telegraph in October 2003 and was based in Jerusalem and then Baghdad. Harnden spent much of 2004 and 2005 covering the war in Iraq. He was a "unilateral" reporter during the siege of Najaf in August 2004 and three months later was embedded with the US Army's Task Force 2-2 during the battle of Fallujah.

Harnden joined The Sunday Telegraph in January 2005 and was based in London as the newspaper’s Chief Foreign Correspondent. He reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Bahrain, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Austria, Italy, Estonia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the United States and Thailand.

In May 2005, Harnden was imprisoned in Zimbabwe for 14 days after being arrested at a rural polling station on the day of the country's parliamentary elections and deported following acquittal on charges of illegally entering the country and "practicing journalism without accreditation".

Harnden returned to Washington DC in May 2006 as a correspondent for The Sunday Telegraph and in October 2006 became US Editor of The Daily Telegraph.[19] He covered the 2008 primaries [20] and general election.[21] From 2009 to 2011, he wrote a weekly column for The Sunday Telegraph entitled "Toby Harnden's American Way".

Harnden was shortlisted for the UK's Press Gazette for Digital Journalist of the Year 2008.[22] In 2011, he was ranked at 27 in a list of Top 50 most influential media users of Twitter in the UK.[23] He left the Telegraph at the end of 2011 to join the Daily Mail.[24] In October 2012, it was announced that he would be joining The Sunday Times as Washington Bureau Chief in January 2013.[25]

As well as the Mail and Telegraph titles, Harnden has had work published in The Leith Leader, The Scotsman, Western Morning News, The Independent, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The Sun, The Spectator, The Evening Standard, The Literary Review, East End Life, The Sunday Business Post (Dublin) and Conde Nast Traveller. A regular broadcaster, he has appeared on CNN, Fox, CNBC, CNBC, Al Jazeera and the BBC.


  • Bandit Country -The IRA and South Armagh, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1999. ISBN 0-340-71736-X
  • Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Real Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan, Quercus, London, 2011. ISBN 978-1-84916-421-4


  1. ^ "Toby Harnden Birth Notice". Scribd.
  2. ^ "Toby Harnden Leaps to The Sunday Times".
  3. ^ "Opinion". The Telegraph. 16 March 2016 – via
  4. ^ "Broken by Battle, Panorama - BBC World News". BBC.
  5. ^ "Bowlands Southsea". Scribd.
  6. ^ "People educated at St Bede's College, Manchester". Archived from the original on 27 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Dead Men Risen".
  8. ^ "Supplement". 24 October 1984.
  9. ^ Harnden, Toby (10 September 2011). "September 11: My life and the US changed forever". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  10. ^ "McCain's first ad of the general -- Obama and Clinton hold secret, "cordial" summit Chez Feinstein – McCain's Kermit-the-frog-green backdrop – Obama Underoos – The next first lady's designer". POLITICO.
  11. ^ "16 days till Inauguration — Game on: The President-elect is scheduled to arrive at Andrews this evening — Plus 'Article of the Month'". POLITICO.
  12. ^ "Author refuses to attend Smithwick Tribunal". RTÉ News. Dublin. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  13. ^ "Dead Men Risen:The Welsh Guards and the Real Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan". Quercus. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  14. ^ Rayner, Gordon (3 March 2011). "MoD pays £150,000 to pulp Afghanistan book after bureaucratic blunder". London: Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Dead Men Risen is Number Four in Sunday Times bestseller list". twitpic. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  16. ^ "Toby Harnden - Dead Men Risen - Reviews". Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  17. ^ "Orwell Prize 2012 shortlists announced". Orwell Prize. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Afghan war book wins Orwell Prize for political writing". BBC News. 23 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  19. ^ "Toby Harnden". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Harnden, Toby (5 November 2008). "Barack Obama heralds new era in Chicago's symbolic Grant Park". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  22. ^ "British Press Awards 2008: the shortlist". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 5 January 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  23. ^ Sedghi, Ami (7 November 2011). "The top 50 media users of Twitter: who is the most influential?". London: Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  24. ^ "Farewell to the Telegraph". London: 31 December 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  25. ^ Sean Ryan [@seanmatthewryan] (19 October 2012). "Toby Harnden @tobyharnden is Sunday Times Washington bureau chief from January. Christina Lamb returns to senior reporting role in London" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

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