Plaque appeal for Dalkeith’s D-Day hero

Sharon Mackintosh, who is crowdfunding for a blue plaque to be placed at the site of a former home of James Hogg, the meterologist who was involved in D-Day.
Sharon Mackintosh, who is crowdfunding for a blue plaque to be placed at the site of a former home of James Hogg, the meterologist who was involved in D-Day.

A crowdfunding appeal is underway for a plaque to commemorate Dalkeith man James Stagg, the meteorologist who gave the go head for the D-Day landings.

In a long and distinguished career, RAF Group Captain James Martin Stagg was the chief meteorological adviser to the Allied forces in Europe, 1943-45. During which he played a key role in predicting the crucial weather conditions for the D-Day landings in early June 1944.

Group Captain James Stagg. Photo  by permission from the Imerial War Museum

Group Captain James Stagg. Photo by permission from the Imerial War Museum

Administrative assistant Sharon Mackintosh (55) is hoping to raise £1,400 for the plaque to be placed at the site of Mr Stagg’s former home on Dalkeith High Street. Sharon believes he deserves more recognition in his hometown.

She said: I’m raising funds to commemorate Dalkeith’s unsung hero. His contribution towards the Allied war effort was of such magnitude that his efforts, expertise and determination could be considered key factors in bringing an end to World War Two.

“Despite this, the story of Group Captain James Stagg remains relatively unknown in my hometown.

“So to commemorate his life and achievements I am raising funds for a plaque to be positioned in his honour on the building where his house once stood in Dalkeith High Street.

Dalkeith High School Dux board, featuring James Stagg (1915).

Dalkeith High School Dux board, featuring James Stagg (1915).

“I first became aware of James Stagg when my late father mentioned going to see David Haig’s play ‘Pressure’ all about James Stagg, at the Lyceum in Edinburgh around late 2014.

“I couldn’t believe that I’d never heard of him before, there is no mention of such an important historical figure anywhere in the town.

“That said, he is on the Dux board in Dalkeith High. I must have walked past that hundreds of times in my years at school there, but who knew about the fourth name on the list!”

Since learning about her fellow former Dalkeith High pupil, Sharon has been campaigning for local recognition for this war hero.

Sharon Mackintosh, at Dalkeith High Street.

Sharon Mackintosh, at Dalkeith High Street.

She said: “I started emailing Midlothian Council in 2014, with a view to having him commemorated in Dalkeith, as I’m extremely proud of the fact that he was raised in our town.

“In June 2016 the then Midlothian Provost agreed that it would be appropriate to have his name entered into their database for street naming. But that was about as far as I got until earlier this year when (local heritage officer) Rod Lugg emailed me to ask if we could meet to discuss celebrating James Stagg in Dalkeith.

“It’s the 75th D-Day anniversary coming up next year. This is a fantastic opportunity for Dalkeith.

“And it seems to have prompted folk into action.

James Stagg's family headstone where his ashes are interred in Dalkeith Cemetery.

James Stagg's family headstone where his ashes are interred in Dalkeith Cemetery.

“I’m just really raising awareness to get money towards the plaque just now. I’m about 80 per cent there.”

Sharon believes local recognition for Mr Stagg is long overdue. She added: “He played such a critical role in the D-Day landings. Yet I had never heard of him before. And I doubt many people in Dalkeith have either.

“He saved over 70,000 lives. That day marked the beginning of the end of the war. It was the turning point. I feel very proud of the fact that he was from Dalkeith. I get really passionate about it. However, I just can’t believe that he is not recognised in his hometown. I think a plaque is the least Dalkeith could do.”

To donate got to – www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sharon-mackintosh.