Stanley came from a well-to-do family. His father, George was a cotton goods merchant and, at the time of the 1901 Census, the family was living at 51 Parsonage Road, Heaton Mersey. George had married his wife, Lucy, about 1890 and Stanley was their first child. They also had two daughters, Nita and Phyllis. George's business was so successful that it enabled the family to employ two live-in servants who are also listed on the Census. Florence Banks was employed as a Lady's Help, while Harriet Davies was a General Servant.
Stanley was educated at Manchester Grammar School (and is commemorated on the School's Roll of Honour) and, later, at the Manchester School of Technology. He was interested in politics and literature and was a keen motorist. When war was declared in August 1914, Stanley quickly joined one of the local territorial battalions - the 1/7th Battalion, Manchester Regiment (service number 2646), attesting on 30 September. His service papers show that Stanley was a man of average height for those days, standing 5 feet 7 inches. He weighed 129lbs and had a 35 inch chest (which he could expand a further two inches). The Battalion had gone overseas to Egypt in early September and, although Stanley's medal entitlement records show he served overseas with it, his stay was not long. His promotion, however, was rapid, becoming a Corporal on 7 November and, just three days later, being promoted again to Sergeant.
As with many middle class young soldiers, he was selected to become an officer and, on 14 December 1914, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Cheshire Regiment, serving with either the 2/6th or 3/6th reserve Battalions. The following month, he was promoted to full Lieutenant and became the battalion's adjutant and, later, was further promoted to Captain.
It's not known why he transferred to the Army Service Corps. Perhaps he was anxious to serve overseas or, perhaps, he had some technical skill that was useful to the ASC. It is known that, on 1 November 1916, he was transferred and reverted to the rank of Lieutenant (suggesting that it was his choice to transfer), going overseas in December. It's understood that he regained his captaincy quite soon after arrival in France.
Stanley served with one of the ASC's Motor Transport units but at the time he was fatally injured on 30 September, he was attached to the Headquarters staff of a heavy artillery unit. After he was wounded, he was evacuated to 2nd British Casualty Clearing Station based at Bailleul, where military surgeons would have done all they could to save his life, but without success. He died at 12.45am on 1 October. The records of the field hospital note that he died as a result of a gunshot wound, although press reports record his injuries were from shell shrapnel (much more likely as he was in a rear area at the time).
Stanley's service file notes that, amongst his effects sent to his family was a framed photograph, his Cheshire Regiment cap badge, 3 books of poetry, a diary, driving licence, dictionary, pipe and tobacco pouch, watch, gold ring and a fountain pen.