The name of James's father is not noted in military records, although his mother is recorded as Mary A Crone, 3 Lee Steet, Stockport. A man named Abel Crone is recorded as marrying Mary Ann Buxton at St peter's Church, Prestbury between July and September 1873. It is an uncommon surname and it is very likely that these were his parents.
A number of children named Crone were born in the Stockport area after 1873 and these were probably James' older brothers and sisters. He was born in 1888. Between October and Decmeber 1893, Abel died, aged 43.
By the time of the 1901 Census, James was working in the local hat-making industry as a printer. This was probably at the hatworks of Sutton and Torkington Ltd for whom he was working in 1916.
According to the family history website, FreeBMD, James got married (to either Jane Jones or Maria Yates). They lived together at 18 Samuel Street, Heaton Norris bit, sometime before James was killed, his wife had also died.
James enlisted at Stockport in June 1916 and, following a period of training, went overseas, as one of a batch of troops sent to the 9th Battalion to replace casualties. He could not have been at the front for more than a few weeks when he was killed in action. On 16 November, the Battalion had been on a tour of duty in the front line for several days. This was near the village of Aveluy in the heart of the Somme battlefield. On a day when James was one of 14 members of his unit to be killed, the Battalion's War Diary makes no reference to casualties recording only "The enemy continued to shell our trenches". Two other local men, Samuel Booth and Ernest Hayward, were amongst the 14. None of the three has a known grave.