Stanley was born in the Levenshulme area of Manchester and the Ridgway family was still living there, at 5 Cringle Road, when the national census was taken in 1901. William Ridgway was a 48 year old joiner and had been married to Elizabeth for many years. They had seven children - ranging from 23 year old Albert to Stanley, then 6.
Nothing is known of his early life, except that Regimental records published after the War indicate he was living in Disley when he enlisted into the army. However, the 1914 edition of Kelly's Directory records that a William Ridgway was living at Birch Villa, High Lane and this seems likely to be the family home.
Stanley joined the army at Manchester in the autumn of 1915 and went overseas, after training, in the early part of 1916. In the middle of March 1917, Stanley and his comrades had been at a reserve camp at Courcelles but, on the 24th, returned to the front line near the village of St Leger, relieving the 2nd Borders. It was a rare quiet period on the Western Front.
On the 25th, the men will have got about their normal trench routine, improving the defences, manning the sentry posts and trying to snatch some sleep when they could. About 5pm, the German artillery became very active in their sector. The next day, the Battalion's War Diary records only "Enemy artillery active all day".
They were relieved back to camp on the 27th. The Battalion had spent just two "quiet" full days, yet Stanley and ten other men had been killed.
Further information about Stanley, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.