James Stagg

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James Martin Stagg
File:James stagg120.jpg
Born (1900-06-30)30 June 1900
Dalkeith, Scotland
Died 23 June 1975(1975-06-23) (aged 74)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve)
Years of service 1943-1945
Rank Group Captain
Battles/wars World War II
Other work Director of Services at the Meteorological Office

Group Captain James Martin Stagg, CB, OBE, FRSE (30 June 1900 – 23 June 1975) was a British Royal Air Force meteorologist who notably persuaded General Dwight D. Eisenhower to change the date of the Allied invasion of Europe in World War II, from the 5th of June to the 6th of June 1944.


Stagg was born in Dalkeith, Scotland to Alexander and Ellen Stagg. In 1924, he became an assistant in the British Meteorological Office and was superintendent of the Kew Gardens observatory in 1939. In 1940, he married Elizabeth Nancy Kidner; they had two sons, Scotland rugby player Peter Kidner Stagg (born 1941) and Alexander Martin Stagg (born 1944). In 1943, he was commissioned a Group Captain in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and appointed the chief meteorological officer for Operation Overlord.[1] Stagg was the senior staff meteorologist working with input from three separate forecasting teams from the Royal Navy, Met Office and USAAF. The detailed history of the forecasts is subject to disagreement in the accounts published by participants, including Stagg himself.[2]

Stagg later worked as director of services at the Meteorological Office until 1960.

For his invaluable services during the planning of D-Day, Stagg was appointed an Officer of the US Legion of Merit in 1945[3] and was also appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) at the same time. He was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 1954 New Year Honours.[4] He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1951 and elected as president of the Royal Meteorological Society in 1959.

Stagg was portrayed by Patrick Barr in the 1962 film The Longest Day and David Haig in his own 2014 play Pressure.

See also


  1. "James Martin Stagg (British meteorologist)". Encyclopedia Britannica. 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Fleming, James R. (2004). "Sverre Petterssen, the Bergen School, and the Forecasts for D-Day" (PDF). History of Meteorology. International Commission on History of Meteorology (ICHM). 1. Retrieved 7 August 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> citing
    • Stagg, J. M., Forecast for Overlord, Ian Allan (1971), ISBN 0-7110-0251-7, and
    • Petterssen, Sverre, Weathering the Storm: Sverre Petterssen, the D-Day Forecast, and the Rise of Modern Meteorology, American Meteorological Society (2001), ISBN 1-878220-33-0
  3. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37300. p. 4958. 9 October 1945.
  4. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 40053. p. 4. 1 January 1954.

Further reading