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Stanley Warren (b. 1917? - d. 20 February 1992, Bridport, England) Bombadier, 15th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, noted for painting the Changi Murals in the Changi Chapel whilst interned in Changi Gaol. He was a painter and an arts teacher.
Bombardier Stanley Warren came to the Changi Gaol hospital after an initial spell as a prison-of-war at Bukit Timah. On the 'dangerously ill list', he was suffering from renal disease, dysentery, malnutrition, and lack of care when he entered Blk. 151 as a hospital patient. Weighing 38 kg., he had six stones removed surgically and thus began his long convalescence. Stanley Warren had been a commercial artist before the war, designing advertising posters. Being a religious person as well, he was encouraged by the Australian Chaplain, Rev. G. F. Chambers, to decorate the St Luke's Chapel. Paint was not readily available in the camp but, with the aid of other prisoners who unquestionably put themselves at risk, colours and materials were gradually acquired. Crushed billiard cue chalk was used to produce blue.
Stanley Warren thought he was close to death due to his illness when he began the first of the Changi Murals entitled The Nativity on 6 October 1942. Despite his physical limitations, Warren completed the mural in time for Christmas of 1942. After completing the first three murals, Stanley was only left with 'Battleship grey' paint. He used the technique of large brush strokes and areas of solid colour to compensate for the lack of colour when painting these murals. Though in great pain and discomfort, Stanley was strengthened and inspired by the ecclesiastical music and voices of his fellow comrades, raised in praise and worship during captivity. The last mural, St. Luke in Prison, was finished by May 1943.
The murals gave Warren something to live for during his trials and in turn, they served as a beacon of hope to the many interned in Changi. Warren returned to Singapore three times to restore the original murals - in December 1963, July 1982 and May 1988. Copies of Warren's murals can be found in the Changi Chapel and Museum.
Bryan, J. N. L. (1946). The churches of the captivity in Malaya (pp. 11, 42-43) [Microfilm: NL 16349].London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
(Call no.: RCLOS 940.5472595 BRY)
Edwards, N. & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings,streets, places (p.73). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW)
Probert, H. A. (1970). History of Changi (pp. 41-43). Singapore: Prison Industries in Changi Prison.
(Call no.: RCLOS 959.51 PRO)
Samuel, D. S. (1991). Singapore's heritage: Through places of historical interest (pp. 296- 297). Singapore: Elixir Consultancy Service.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SAM)
Changi murals now open to tourists. (1984, October 9). The Straits Times.
Painting of St Luke Mural to grace prison chapel. (1988, May 31). The Straits Times.
Stubbs, Peter W. (n.d.). Restoration of the murals. Military history pages. Retrieved November 2, 2002, from www.petrowilliamus.co.uk/murals/restoration/restoration.htm
Special personalities: Stanley Warren. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2002, from www.changimuseum.com/Chronicle/Chronicles%20body%20text3.htm#Stanley Warren
The fall of Singapore [Sound recording]. (1986). Singapore: Oral History Department, Singapore.
(Call no.: R 940.548252 FAL )
The information in this article is valid as at 1999 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for further reading materials on the topic.