John was educated at Grosvenor House School, Carlisle, and at Owens College, Manchester - where he took the diplomas of the Conjoint Board in 1898, and the D.P.H. in 1913. After acting a resident clinical assistant at the Barnes Convalescent Hospital, Cheadle, he entered the R.A.M.C. as Lieutenant on 28th January 1899, and during 1899-1900 served in the South African War. He took park in the advance on Kimberley, including the actions at Belmont, Enslin, Modder River, and Magersfontein. For his services there he was awarded the Queen’s medal with two clasps. After serving at Dover for a time he proceeded to India in 1901, and was appointed staff surgeon, Fort William, Culcutta, which appointment he held until 1907, finishing his tour of foreign service at Ranikhet. He was gazetted Captain on 28th January 1902, then Major on 28th October 1910. After serving three years in the London district James was appointed sanitary specialist, Northern Command in 1914. On 1st March 1915 he gained promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel. In August 1916, he was appointed A.D.M.S. 12th Corps, Salonika, and there served, with only one short leave, until his death, which was due to pneumonia, following influenza. James was the eldest son of the late Caleb Hodgson of Carlisle, and stepson of the Colonel J J Durant; and the husband of Katie Winifred Hodgson - they had one son.