(L to R) Military Medal; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
We don't know anything about James' family or early life.
James served in the Manchester Regiment during the First World War. His service number was 203116. This suggests that he first joined the 5th Battalion in early 1917. We don't know whether he had been in another unit before this, but if he was, he did not go overseas with them.
We don't know when James first went overseas, but by September 1917 he had been posted to the 21st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. They were based near Ypres in Belgium at this time, taking part in the Passchendaele Offensive.
At some point during this battle James carried out an act of great bravery. He was awarded the Military Medal in the London Gazette of the 17th December. Unfortunately his citation has not survived, so we don't know exactly what he did to earn his award. The largest attack the battalion took part in during this period was on the 4th October, towards the village of Gheluvelt.
At some point after this James left the 21st Battalion. He was transferred to a unit of the Border Regiment and given the service number 31513. We don't know exactly when this occurred, or why.
James survived the war, but the rest of his life remains a mystery. His medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in August 1998.