James was educated at Ballarat College, Victoria and at Melbourne University, where he obtained honours throughout his course, and graduated in 1909, gaining First Class Honours in both Medicine and Surgery and fourth place on the final Honour List. He was known as an excellent athlete and an enthusiast in art and music, which he loved. He became Resident Surgeon at the Melbourne Hospital from 1910 to 1911, then occupied a similar position at the Childrenís Hospital the following year. He obtained an M.D. degree and came to England in 1912 - becoming a student at St Bartholomew's Hospital from 1913, he obtained the diploma of F.R.C.S.[Eng.] in 1914. He was appointed House Surgeon to St Peterís Hospital, Henrietta-Street, London W.C., a position he was holding when war was declared. James volunteered for Imperial Service and gained a commission within the R.A.M.C. on 16th August 1914, he then entered the war in France on the 24th. He was appointed to No 11 General Hospital, Boulogne but was transferred to the 31st Heavy Battery, Royal Artillery during the Battle of the Aisne. After serving with them for a year, his former Colonel asked that he might be transferred back to the hospital, where he was placed in charge of the wards and was operating surgeon for cerebral cases. He gained promoted to Captain in 1915, then in August 1915 was invalided home suffering from para-typhoid fever. He rejoined his unit in the October but died suddenly from cerebral hemorrhage, a result of a rare complication of para-typhoid fever. James was the eldest son of James (a retired Bank Manager) and Margaret Louisa Fairley of 177 Moore Street, Moonee Ponds, Victoria, Australia.