Captain James Stagg collectable stamp to be produced

Thursday January 25th 2024

James Stagg First Day Cover

The limited edition first day cover to celebrate Captain James Stagg.

Written by Midlothian View Editor, Phil Bowen

As the tumult of World War II reached its crescendo, one man stood at the crossroads of history, armed not with a rifle, but with a forecast.

2024 will mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, one of the largest amphibious assaults in history and a key turning point in the war. That’s the much-told events, the relatively untold story however is the involvement of one of our very own, Midlothian’s James Stagg.

Stagg was born in Musselburgh but would have considered Dalkeith as his home town. He attended Dalkeith High School and then studied mathematics and physics at the University of Edinburgh. A keen interest in meteorology led him to work at the Met Office in London. The Scotsman became a skilled meteorologist and gained a reputation for his expertise in weather forecasting which later resulted in his appointment as the chief meteorological officer to General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Stagg’s crucial, if often overlooked, role can be viewed as the linchpin of Operation Overlord and the eventual success of D-Day.

James Stagg’s role in providing accurate weather forecasts for D-Day highlighted the critical intersection of meteorology and military strategy during World War II. His contributions significantly influenced the success of one of the most pivotal moments in the war. Without his work, and defiance to General Eisenhower to delay the invasion by a day to June 6th, the Allies may have ultimately lost many more lives due to poor weather conditions in the channel, and more widely for the entire war effort.

If Operation Overlord had been delayed it would have been 2 weeks later, but there was a huge storm on that date too. It may have not been possible until late August, after that and with winter approaching, it could have been up to a year later. With the lost advantage, things may have turned out very differently.

To celebrate James Stagg, a new stamps collectable is being released to honour him as part of the 80th anniversary commemorations. A limited edition first day cover (decorative collectable envelope) features an original met office weather map from June 5th, 1944, and a photograph of James Stagg. Specialist gold foiling adorns the D-Day design while the plane nods to the 518 Squadron which was part of the RAF meteorological corps that gathered important weather data over the Atlantic.

The collectable features a D-Day Weather stamp from the upcoming Royal Mail release and is postmarked Dalkeith, on the first day of stamp release.

Sharon Mackintosh has campaigned for recognition for Captain Stagg for years, she told Midlothian View:

“I walked past the Dux Board at Dalkeith High school for 5 years and never knew the importance of the boy whose name was 4th on the list until my late father mentioned he wanted to see David Haig’s play “Pressure”.

“Since then I have campaigned to have this important Dalkeith man commemorated in his home town. He now has two plaques in Dalkeith, two roads named after him – James Stagg Way and Normandy Drive and now to be approached for advice regarding a first day cover celebrating his achievements is a wonderful recognition of Stagg’s contribution to the ending of the Second World War. To say I am chuffed to bits is an understatement.”

If you would like to purchase the first day cover then CLICK HERE.

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