James was born on 2nd July 1887 to Robert and Mary Ann Eddon, who lived at Tring Station. He was baptised at St Thomas's Westminster on 11th Dec 1887.
The 1911 census has James working as a railway clerk and living with family at 6 Railway Cottages, Tring.
In June 1911, marriage banns were read for James and Minnie Eliza Collier and they were married in Aldbury on 1st July 1911. They had 2 sons: Geoffrey Arnold born 6th June 1912 and Arthur James born 21st July 1915.