James was born Halifax, Yorkshire England. He arrived in NSW aboard the Royal Admiral in 1792 as a corporal. He arrived on Norfolk Island aboard HM Supply in Apr 1796. By 1798 he held the rank of private with Captain Townson’s Company. He retunrd to NSW and travlled back to Norfolk island aboard HMS Porpoise in Jan 1801.
He returned to NSW aboard the Union in Mar 1805, and then stationed at South Head and Parramatta, returning to England aboard the Hindostan in May 1810. when the NSW Corps was withdrawn. James was discharged in 1811, aged 57 years, after 35 years 8 months of service in the 10th Foot Regiment and 102nd Foot Regiment.
 TNA, WO 121/115/86
- HMS Porpoise to Norfolk Island January 1801
- NSW Corps 1802 Norfolk Island
- NSW Corps 1804 Norfolk Island