James was born in around 1867 in Bridgend, Glamorgan, the son of William and Emma Church. He married Mary Ellen Sarah Wade in Wolverhampton on 6 April 1893, and they had one son, James Robert, in Wolverhampton on 28 December 1904. James joined the police force, becoming a Sergeant by 1901 and a Police Inspector by 1911 with Wolverhampton Police Force. Throughout that period the family were living at 76 Harrow Street, Wolverhampton.
Despite his age, there is a note in the Chief Constable’s Report Book for 19 October 1914 listing Inspector Church as one of the men who had applied to rejoin his regiment. In James’s case, this was the Royal Garrison Artillery (service number 2420). Unfortunately, according to an entry in the Report Book for 7 December 1914,
he was discharged after 3 weeks as medically unfit & has been on the sick list since rejoining.
His pension records confirm that he was discharged on 23 November 1914 with chronic sciatica. James’s wife, Mary, died in Atcham, Shropshire, in 1924, and James remarried to a Sarah Anne Colley on 7 July 1925. He himself died on 22 March 1949.