James as born in the parish of St Peter's Church, Stockport, the son of James and Mary. When the Census was taken in 1901, the family was living at 9 Queen Street West. There were four children - Frank (then 16), James (11), Tom (9) and Mabel (3).
In the late summer of 1910, James married Hannah Mann (the daughter of the late Charles Mann of Bent's Lane, Bredbury). They lived at 6 Field Street in Bredbury and, over the years, would have three children together.
When War was declared on 4 August 1914, James was one of the first to enlist at Hyde. He was allocated to the 8th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (service number 10670) and saw service at Gallipoli from August 1915 until the evacuation in January 1916. At some point, he was transferred to the Shropshires. This was, probably, after he recovered from a wound or a long period of illness and, on return to duty, it will have been decided that his new unit was more in need of replacements.
Around this time, James will have heard that his eldest daughter had died. This was probably Dorothy Amison, aged 5, who is recorded by the family history website, CheshireBMD, as having died in 1916. He will have been abroad and it is extremely unlikely that he would have been given compassionate leave to return home for her funeral.
Reporting his death, the Stockport Express in its edition of 2 August 1917 said he had "died in a brilliant charge". The truth is somewhat different as James was actually killed when the Germans attacked the British positions. Both sides carried out these raids which were intended to capture prisoners (to gain intelligence) and, simply, to unsettle the garrisons opposite so they could never relax.
On 7 July, James and his comrades were in the front line trenches near the French village of Hulloch (north of the town of Lens). At 2.55am, the German artillery opened a bombardment on the section of the trenches occupied by "D" Company. Fifteen minutes later, a raiding party of German soldiers left their trenches and charged across No Man's Land, but heavy fire made them return to their trenches. Five minutes later, another group of Germans attempted to attack the British positions but without success.
There were no further attacks but, almost immediately, German trench mortar fire fell on a section of British trench, near positions noted as being "Boyau 71". This section was manned by a whole platoon, only one man of which escaped death or injury.
During the raiding attempts, 15 men had been wounded but James was amongst 20 who had been killed.
Both of Tom's brothers are believed to have served in the forces during the War. The Stockport Express noted, in James' obituary, that one had lost the use of an arm whilst on service, but it did not identify which one.