Reginald was born in Staffordshire in 1898, the son of James Adams and Clara Dora May. They were living at 137 Stafford Road, Wolverhampton, by 1901, along with Reginald’s siblings Elsie D., Dorothy Hilda, and Harold Cecil. By 1911 they were at 84 North Road, Wolverhampton, with an additional child, Ethel Mary. At some point, Reginald worked at the Vulcan Works.
Reginald enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery (number 284157), when his address was Langland, Stafford Road, Bushbury, Wolverhampton. From 8 July 1918, he served until the end of the war, when he was demobilised on 20 December 1919.
He married Janet Hodgkins in Wolverhampton in 1933.