Stanley Widdows was born in Bradfield, Berkshire on 4th October 1909 and educated at St Bartolomew's School, Newbury. In September 1926, he started in the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice (560490) and passed out as a Fitter in August 1929. From there, he won a cadetship at RAF College, Cranwell and began as a Flight Cadet there on September 20 1929. He graduated in 1931 and was posted to 43 Squadron at Tangmere. In 1932, he served with 29 Squadron at North Weald.
Widdows' next few years were spent overseas. In February 1933, he joined 45 Squadron at Helwan, Egypt, moving the following November to 47 Squadron, Khartoum. He was sent to RAF Ramleh, Palestine in 1936 but returned to the UK the next year, becoming a test pilot to A&AEE, Martlesham Heath. Widdows carried out extensive performance tests on the first production Hurricane, L 1547 and the first production Spitfire, K 9787.
The same year, Widdows arrived at 6 OUT, Aston Down, converted to Blenheims and was posted to 29 Squadron at Digby. He took command the very next day.
He won his DFC for destroying a Ju 88 at night on March 13, 1941, which crashed at Smiths Farm, Dovedale, near Louth, Lincolnshire. Just two months later, Widdows met another Ju 88 over the English Channel in the early hours of May 7 1941. His Beaufighter was badly damaged by return fire. After ordering his radar operator, Sergeant B Ryall, to bale out, Widdows managed to get the aircraft back to base. To his distress, a search found no trace of Ryall.
Widdows was posted away in June 1941 to command RAF West Malling. In 1942, he became Group Captain night Ops at HQ 11 Group and 12 Group. He was SASO 85 Group in 1943/44 and Group Captain Organisations at Supreme HQ Allied Expeditionary Forces later in 1944.
After the war, Widdows held many distinguished appointments and commands. He was made a CB and by the time he retired from the RAF in December 1958, he was an Air Commodore.