‘I enjoyed the war: plenty of exercise, moving from camp to camp. It gave me the opportunity to paint. It kept me going. I remember when I joined I was always sketching - “you better give that stuff up until the war is over”, one of my comrades told me: “don’t be so bloody silly”, I said., “I am an artist.” When the War broke out I went on teaching the students. But they all began to disappear. They all went to the forces. It was only the lame and the blind that were left. I didn’t know what to do. About a year after the war started Harrison the Principal sent for me. He was sorting out all the A1 men to go into the forces. It was my turn’. After training at Kemmel Park in Prestatyn, North Wales, in the Royal Artillery as a Gunner, and later serving as a Battery Clerk for the 9th Ac Ac Regiment at Ranby, Stanley was posted to the 66th Searchlight Regiment (Gloucesters) in Somerset.Asked if he would have liked to have been an official war artist Stanley replied: ‘yes, but the fact that I was unofficial left me free to do and paint what I chose; and I’ll tell you what - many of those Official War Artists were not amongst it – I was a soldier; I was right in the middle of it.’ In spite of not being an Official War Artist Stanley was commissioned to produce three major paintings during World War Two: Wartime Newport, The Home Front, 1940-1941 Morning Maintenance on a Searchlight Site, 1943 (whereabouts unknown) and The Attack on the Tirpitz by the Fleet Air Arm, 1944.
After training at Kinmel Park in Prestatyn, North Wales, in the Royal Artillery and later serving as a Battery Clerk for the 9th Ac Ac Regiment at Ranby, Stanley was posted to the 66th Searchlight Regiment (Gloucesters).