Harkers were men “sent out on 'listening patrols' in front of the trenches, specially equipped with appliances to detect indications of enemy activity. At the camps on the east cost of England 'Harkers' were similarly employed to listen for sounds of approaching enemy aircraft.” 
References / notes
- Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p.115.
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