James was from West Hartlepool and enlisted into the Durham Light Infantry, prior to enlistment he was an apprentice ship worker.  The CWGC records that his mother was Sarah Christison, of 15 York Street, Queensbury.

It is not known when or why Sarah moved to Queensbury.  The 1911 census records her living with her husband (also called James) and four children at 71 Adam Street, Middlesbrough On Tees and her place of birth shows Middlesbrough.  It is believed that her husband died in 1915.  James was the eldest of her children and additional research shows that the rest of the children stayed in the Middlesbrough area.

James was a Lance Corporal in the 14th Battalion and died of wounds on 16th September 1916, he is buried in GUILLEMONT ROAD CEMETERY, GUILLEMONT (I. B. 6).  The inscription on his headstone reads: “He’s Gone From Our Home But Not From Our Hearts”.

Buried close to James is Lieutenant Raymond Asquith (I. B. 3), son of the Rt. Hon. (and former M.P.) H. H. Asquith, P.C., Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1908-1916.