James was born in 1779 at Walford South Herefordshire England. He enlisted into the NSW Corps in November 1796 in England, and arrived in NSW aboard the Barwell in 1798,
He first travelled to Norfolk Island aboard HMS Reliance in Nov 1799, returning to NSW aboard HMS Porpoise in March 1801. By Jul 1804 James was back on Norfolk Island. He returned to Port Jackson aboard the Union in 1805 and assigned to Parramatta. James was transferred to the 73rd Regiment in Mar – Apr 1810.
James Mansell, Private 73rd Regiment was murdered in Sydney, age 33 years and buried 24 Apr 1813 at Old Sydney Burial Ground. The same day a coroner’s inquest was held into his death. This morning at nine o’clock a Coroner’s Inquest assembled at a house in Clarence-street, on the body of James Mansell, who died in consequence of a violent blow on the head, which was inflicted on the night of the 19th. At half-past 7 this evening the Coroner’s Report had not transpired.
“John Burke was indicted for the wilful murder of James Mansell, within the premises of George Woodford, on the Rocks, by inflicting upon the head of the deceased a mortal blow with a club or paling, upon the night of the 19th of April last, whereof he died upon the 23d of the same month- -Verdict, Not Guilty”.
 Sydney Gazette, 24 Apr 1813, p. 1
 Sydney Gazette, 29 May 1813, p. 2