James was born in Wolverhampton in 1899, the son of William Taylor and Mary W. Craven. The family were living in Moseley Village, Heath Town, in 1901, along with James’s siblings Harriet A., Harry, William T. and Frederick. By 1911, they were at 1 Deans Road, Moseley Village, and James had an additional two siblings – Miriam and Charles Granville.
James enlisted as a Rifleman in the 2nd/7th Battalion of the Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment (number 57138). He was killed in action on 27 March 1918 in France. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial in France. Although there is no gold cross next to “J. Craven” on the Roll of Honour of the Weldless Steel Tube Company (indicating those who have died), it is likely that this relates to James, and that he worked for this company at some point. He is also remembered on the Wednesfield Village Roll of Honour.