James, who was born in Sydney in 1894, was the son of William and Mary McGee. As a twenty one year old Labourer at Little Plain near Inverell, he enlisted at Inverell in December 1915 agreeing to serve from 12 January 1916. He joined with other district men to form the First Contingent of The Kurrajongs who left Inverell with great fanfare on that day.
After becoming a member of the 33rd Battalion C Company, he trained at Armidale and Rutherford prior to sailing from Australia in May 1916. The Battalion arrived in England after nine weeks at sea and further training was undertaken at Salisbury Plain. Whilst there, James became seriously ill and was hospitalised with pneumonia. He was well enough to rejoin his Battalion which was part of the 3rd Division sent to France in November, just in time for one of the worst winters experienced for some time.
During the Battle of Messines in June 1917 James was wounded and invalided back to England where he was admitted to 1st Southern General Hospital with a gunshot wound to his back, lung and feet. He was subsequently returned to Australia in September 1917 and medically discharged in February 1918. He was granted a pension of thirty shillings per fortnight from 12 February 1918.
Private James McGee has his name inscribed on the Inverell Honor Roll.