Stacey, Nick (1 of 5) National Life Stories: Pioneers in Charity and Social Welfare
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2006-07-17, 2006-08-06, 2006-08-17
The British Library
Stacey, Nick (1927-2017) (speaker, male)
Brodie, Louise (speaker, female)
Part 1: The Revd Nicolas Stacey [NS] was born in London in 1927. He had a privileged childhood, although his father, a banker, had lost money in the financial crash. [04:08] NS went to Wellesley House, Broadstairs as a prep school, from where they were evacuated to Rannoch due to the War. Aged 13 NS asked to go to Dartmouth Naval College in order to get to the War as soon as possible. [07:19]This he did aged 17. Details of the time spent when he left school. Description of his parents and their families. [14:11] Description of his brother Tom and NS's twin sister who has recently died. [22:57] He was very close to his nanny who was religious and read the prayer book every day. He retains good friends from school days, such as Lord Denham and Anthony Blond. The Naval College barely educated them. NS became head boy. They had a limited life during the War. NS was never afraid of death. [35:03]They were not frustrated because everyone was in the same boat. They played tennis and squash at his grandmother's house. NS was not interested in music or pictures. He was not interested in politics either at that time, it was a question of survival. [41:52] NS first joined the HMS Vanquisher, an old First World War vessel, guarding the Atlantic convoys. His bunk was next to the fuel tanks and he was very seasick. Story of his first watch when he was nearly swept overboard. It was very difficult at first, but you do get over seasickness eventually. [48:48] Then he joined HMS Anson. There were 30 midshipmen on board and the crew's job was to shoot down enemy aircraft. They went up to Scapa Flow for training. [55:55] Then to Valetta in Malta. Mention of getting drunk and of the euphoria at VE day (victory in Europe). Stories of incidents at Port Said, the Bitter Lakes, and Colombo. They experienced VJ day (victory in Japan) in Sydney, Australia and had a wonderful time there visiting ranches and being entertained by the hospitable Australians. This was an eyeopener. [1:07:21] NS became personal assistant to Cameron (an honour) when they went to Hong Kong. NS had to see that Europeans who had had to be locked up were treated fairly. The conditions were a moving experience. [1:13:16] Then they went to Japan and NS chose to visit Hiroshima which had a profound effect on him. It was about six weeks since the bomb had been dropped. It was perhaps divine guidance that made him go. He saw death, destruction and hopelessness on a huge scale, and wanted to make the world a better place. [1:17:54] At Dartmouth the chaplain Geoffrey Tiarks had been inspirational. NS believes that man has free will in order to build Jesus Christ's kingdom. NS very nearly went into politics when at Oxford, but decided to give his life to God instead. In the meantime they did a cruise round Australia to show the flag, which was a glamorous time. NS was the star midshipman.
Life story interview with Revd Nick Stacey (1927-2017), clergyman and social worker.