James, who was a plasterer by trade, enlisted on 22nd July 1916 stating that he wished to serve in the Royal Engineers. However, he joined the Duke of Wellingtons (West Riding Regiment) serving at home until he was discharged as no longer fit for war service, dated 21st January 1918.
The reason for this discharge is not shown on his service records although it is stated as not caused on or by service. James returned to his wife Martha, who he had married in February 1909 and his two children George and Lily at their home on Wellington Street, Queensbury. He died at the age of 36 on 5th June 1920.