Enlisted at Hertford formerly 266192 1/1st Hertfordshire Regiment, but was transferred to 1st Essex, who had been sent back to England from Mauritius where they were stationed at the outbreak of war.
After training they were then sent to Gallipoli on 21st March 1915 via Malta and Alexandria, landing at V Beach, Cape Helles on 25th April and were involved in heavy fighting until the evacuation on 7th/8th January 1916. They were sent to France via Egypt arriving by the end of March. They took part in the Somme campaign, at the battles for Albert and Transloy Ridge. In 1917 they fought in the Arras offensive and were then moved to Flanders where they took part in the battles of 3rd Ypres. In February 1918 they were transferred to the 37th Division and fought at the Battles of the Lys and then at the 2nd battle of Albert. In the attack on Achiet Le Grand railway cutting, James was killed.