National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Group Captain James Stagg (1900-1975)

Group Captain James Stagg (1900-1975)


James Stagg was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He joined the British Meteorological Office in 1924 where he later became superintendent at the Kew Observatory.  He was also leader of a British Polar Expedition to the Arctic. In 1944 Group Captain James Stagg was appointed meteorological adviser to General Eisenhower and the other allied commanders. He worked with the British and American forecasting centres providing data to military planners. It was his advice on weather conditions that led to the postponement of the D-Day landings from 5 to 6 June. After the War this significant contribution was recognised on both sides of the Atlantic. In later years he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and president of the Royal Meteorological Society. On the 75th anniversary of D-Day a memorial plaque was unveiled at Dalkeith Library.

You can find out more about his role in the article 'How a weather forecast made history - the D-Day Landings' and related resources on the Royal Meteorological Society's website.

Birth in 1900

James Martin Stagg was born on 30 June 1900, the son of Alexander Cairns Stagg, plumber, and Helen Martin. The entry in the statutory register of births for the district of Inveresk and Musselburgh in the county of Edinburgh (Midlothian) gives the place of birth as 122 New Street, Musselburgh. The informant was his father who was present at the birth.

Birth entry for James Stagg

Birth entry for James Stagg (54 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1900/689/220

1901 and 1911 Censuses

In 1901, James Stagg, nine months, was enumerated with his parents at 6 Esk Place in Dalkeith. The census return for the district of Dalkeith gives the birth place of Alexander and Ellen Stagg as Midlothian - Musselburgh.

1901 Census record for James Stagg

1901 Census record for James Stagg (23 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1901/683/3, page 19

In 1911 James Stagg, 10, was enumerated with his family at 153 High Street, Dalkeith. The census return for that district records that he was at school. The household included his brother, Alexander, aged 2, and his grandfather, James Martin, 68, plasterer, working in the building trade. The 1911 census collected data on the 'particulars of marriage'. This shows that James' parents, Alexander and Helen, had been married for 12 years, that they had two children born alive and two children still living. 

1911 Census record for James Stagg

1911 Census record for James Stagg (33 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1911/683/7, page 24