Obituary of Rupert Stanley


Major Rupert Stanley, who died, aged 89, at his home in Windsor Avenue, Belfast, was a distinguished Ulster educationalist and a former principal of Belfast College of Technology and first director of education for Belfast. From 1949 until March last he had been Grand Master of the Masonic Province of Antrim.

A native of Armagh, Major Stanley was a nephew of Sir John Stanley, Chief Justice of the North-West Provinces, India.

He was a graduate of the Royal University of Ireland, a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and a fellow of the Institute of Radio Engineers. He joined the staff of the Belfast Technical Institute in 1903 and was appointed head of the physics and electrical engineering department. Eight years later he was appointed extra-mural Professor of Electrical Engineering in Queen’s University, Belfast, and became a member of the board of studies.

Major Stanley joined up at the outbreak of World War I, and was made second-in-command of a field company of the Ulster Division. He was transferred to the Wireless Service, and was promoted experimental officer at Wireless G. H .Q. in France. Later he became chief wireless instructor of the British Expeditionary Force, and was promoted [from] Staff Officer (Wireless) to the Signals Officer-in-Chief – the highest appointment obtainable in France in his branch of the service. He was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour by the French Government in appreciation of his liaison work. He wrote the first textbooks on wireless and telegraphy issued to the Allied forces.

After the war Major Stanley was appointed principal of the College of Technology. When Belfast Education Authority was set up he was made director of education, and his great work was the re-schooling of Belfast as far as elementary schooling was concerned. When he retired from the post in July 1941, 26 large new schools had been built and many existing schools modernised or enlarged. Almost 80 unsuitable schools had been closed and 50 amalgamated with other schools. He was also responsible during his term of office for a new co-ordination scheme between Queen’s University and the College of Technology.

Major Stanley served on many Government committees including the Charlemont Committee on Industrial Resources of Northern Ireland, the Lynn Committee on Education, the Committee on the Scholarship System of Northern Ireland and the Committee of Stranmillis Training College. He was at one time a member of the Council of the Linen Research Association. Other organisations with which Major Stanley had been actively associated included the Belfast Committee of the Air Training Corps, the Association of Northern Ireland Education Committees, Ulster Savings Committee and the Committee for Adult Education in H.M. Forces. For his public services he received the honorary degree of LLD of Queen’s University.

Major Stanley was a distinguished member of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, having attained the 33rd degree. He was installed as R.W. Grand Master of the Masonic Province of Antrim in 1949. He was a Past Grand Steward of Charities, an honorary Senior Grand Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Chapter of Prince Masons in Ireland, and a trustee of the Victoria Jubilee Masonic Annuity Fund. He was a P. M. of Sir Charles Cameron Lodge No. 333, and P. K. of Chapter 333, and was for 16 years secretary of Lodge 10.

Major Stanley’s wife, who died in 1931, was a daughter of Sir Charles Cameron, of Dublin. He is survived by two sons, Mr Rupert M. C. Stanley, Windsor Avenue, and Major Vivian Stanley of Puttenham, Surrey.’