I was born on 22 February 1942 in the Auckland public hospital in New Zealand (the picture shows me at six weeks old). In those days, most people were born in a hospital and home births were quite unusual. My parents were Nell Lacey and Alf Lacey and they lived in Mission Bay in Auckland with my older brother Max. My younger sister, Lynne Hooper Lacey wasn’t born until 1944.
Mum and dad named me Dale Hooper Lacey. All three of us children were given the same middle name (Hooper), which was mum’s maiden name.
The year I was born, 1942, was right in the middle of World War Two (1939-1945), but most of the fighting took place in Europe and North Africa and Russia, so we were pretty safe here in New Zealand. There was some fighting in the Pacific, and people feared that New Zealand would be invaded by the Japanese armed forces, but in the end nothing bad happened. Anyway, I was still only three years old when the war finished, so I didn’t know what was going on.