The son of John Dorrington and Eda Thurstan, James was born in Wolverhampton in 1896. In 1901, they were living at 53 Darlington Street with James’s sister, Eda Kathleen. They were at the same address in 1911, with an additional child, Marjorie Louise.
James enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps (number 013676) and later transferred as an Acting Lance Corporal to the 25th Battalion (Tyneside Irish) of the Northumberland Fusiliers, service number 48180. He was killed in action in France on 9 April 1917. This was reported in the Express & Star on 26 May 1917. He is buried in Roclincourt Valley Cemetery in France.