Ray Stagles was born and brought up in Leyton, east London. He studied at University College London, evacuated to Aberystwyth, and there met his future wife, Joan. They both took Honours degrees in English in 1942. He served as a radar mechanic in the Fleet Air Arm until 1946. After the war he taught in schools in Essex, then became a Head Teacher, first, in 1957, in Shropshire, then, from 1964, in Berkshire.
In 1966 he and Joan first visited the Great Blasket Island, which from then on became their joint passion. His interests included hill walking, books, jazz, classical music, theatre, cryptic crosswords and scrabble. Ray died in 2016.