James was born in Glasgow on 29th September 1888 to parents William and Agnes. Aged three on the 1891 census, he was recorded living at 37 Tobago Street in Glasgow along with his parents, three siblings and four lodgers.
Following on from school he worked briefly as a messenger boy before heading for the seas.
James joined the Navy for 12 years service, noted as 5’7 when fully grown, with fair hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.
HMS CALEDONIA - 03/05/1905 - 03/01/1906, rising from Boy 2nd Class to Boy 1st Class on 14/12/1905
HMS GANGES - 04/01/1906 - 17/05/1906
HMS EURYALUS - 18/05/1906 - 09/09/1906
HMS EDGAR - 10/09/1906 - 31/05/1907, rising to Ordinary Seaman on 29/09/1906
HMS WARRIOR - 01/06/1907 - 01/02/1909, rising to Able Seaman on 16/04/1908
HMS BEDFORD - 02/02/1909 - 29/10/1910
HMS PEMBROKE I - 30/10/1910 - 25/11/1910
HMS ACTAEON - 26/11/1910 - 08/05/1911
HMS PEMBROKE I - 09/05/1911 - 30/10/1911
HMS ALBION - 31/10/1911 - 31/12/1911
HMS CRESSY - 01/01/1912 - 13/03/1912
HMS PEMBROKE I - 14/03/1912 - 26/03/1912, while stationed at the shore base James was recorded as being at 41 High Street, Blue Town, Sheerness, a restaurant, during the 1911 census, along with the proprietor, his family and several other navy ratings.
HMS VANGUARD - 27/03/1912 - 09/07/1917
His brother was issued with James’ Star, Victory and British war medals following his death. He was one of the longest serving members aboard VANGUARD when she exploded, having also served during the Battle of Jutland.
#287 - 490/843
1891 Scotland Census
1911 England Census
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 414
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 009 (1914 - 1919)
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/9; Scan Number: 0176
Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 108
Evening Times 23rd July 1917