Elected F.R.S. 1953
Michael James Lighthill was born in Paris on 23 January 1924, son of Ernest Balzar Lighthill (‘Bal’), a mining engineer who retired and returned to England in 1927 at the age of 59. James's mother, Marjorie, daughter of a Yorkshire engineer, L.W. Holmes, was 18 years younger than her husband; James had a brother, Olaf, 17 years older than himself, and a sister, Patricia, nine years older, who survives him. Bal had changed the family name from Lichtenberg (originally of Alsatian origin) in 1917.