James was born in Wolverhampton in 1896, the son of James and Esther Evans. In 1901, they were living at 63 Powell Street, Heath Town, Wolverhampton, along with James’s sisters, Emily, Florence and Edith. They were at 82 Powell Street by 1911, and James had become a grocer’s assistant.
James enlisted first with the Royal Army Medical Corps (number 78507), and later transferred to the 20th (County of London) Battalion (Blackheath and Woolwich) of the London Regiment (service number 5791, and later 632793). He was killed in Syria on 8 December 1917. He is buried at Jerusalem War Cemetery .