Robert Baldwin Dale-Harris DSO FCA was born in Montreal, Québec, the son of Spencer Lewis Dale-Harris and Margaret (Cassells) Dale-Harris. He was educated at Ridley College, St. Catherines Ontario and at the University of Toronto. From 1937 to 1939, he served in the Militia (Reserve Army) and in 1939 joined the army on active service.

In January 1940, he was posted overseas with the Royal Canadian Artillery and returned to Canada in December 1945 and was demobilized with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During 1945, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for gallantry in the field against the enemy.

After returning from overseas, Dale-Harris joined the Chartered Accountant firm of Coopers & Lybrand and McDonald, Currie & Co. as a chartered accountant and became a Partner in the firm.

In May 1942, he married Leslie Ruth Howard, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Howard. They had three daughters; Carolyn, Lindsay and Victoria.