James is one of a number of men commemorated on Stockport's memorials for whom a connection with the area has not been established. It is probable that he worked or lived in Bredbury.
He was born in Manchester, the son of Edwin and Ellen, and would enlist there, probably in the autumn of 1914. It is known that his wife was also called Ellen and, after the war, she was living at 17 Gibralter Lane, Haughton Green, Denton. The family history website, FreeBMD, records the registration of a marriage at Manchester, in the autumn of 1903, between a James Horsfall and Ellen Wiseman. This is probably the couple.
The newly formed 8th Battalion arrived on the Western Front in the autumn of 1915, going into the front line for the first time in late October. On 3 November, James and his mates were at a position known as "Moat Farm", believed to be near the village of Hollebeke, south of the Belgian town of Ypres. That day, they lost their first man killed in action, no doubt killed by shellfire or sniper's bullet. The next day, James became the second fatality. Another 468 would die before the War ended.
As well as his commemoration on the Bredbury Memorial, James is also remembered on the Memorial in Denton.