Haile was born in London and left school at the age of fifteen to work at a shipping firm. He attended evening classes at Clapham School of Art and in 1931 won a scholarship to study painting at the Royal College of Art. However, he later transferred to study pottery, believing that his attitude did not fit with the academically-focused painting department. Haile seemed to have found his ideal expressive medium in ceramics and although he is primarily remembered as a potter, producing some of the most original works of the time, Haile always considered himself a painter. He joined the British surrealist group in 1937 but with the onset of war he emmigrated to America. Following his enlistment into the U.S. Army he was forced to return to Britain in 1944. He died in a car accident in 1948.