James was a son of James and Amelia Boatwright. He was born in the Braidwood district of NSW before his family moved to the Inverell district about 1873. By 1903 he was a Farmer at Elsmore, near Inverell. Later he had a Timber and Joinery business at Delungra where he was a member of the Loyal Delungra Lodge and the Farmers and Settlers Association.

After selling his business James went to Sydney where he enlisted in 1915. Before leaving for war service he returned to Delungra where he was officially farewelled in March 1916. He left Australia for Egypt with the 7th Field Company Engineers, Reinforcement 5 on the ship HMAT A15 Star of Victoria. He went to France in November 1916. After becoming ill he was sent to England for treatment in February 1917, returning to France in October.

During September 1918 James was recommended for, and later awarded, the French Croix de Guerre due to his ‘… exceptional energy and his coolness under hostile heavy shell fire … ‘ (Commonwealth Gazette No 61 23 May 1919)

James returned to Australia in 1919. His name is recorded on the Inverell Methodist Church Honor Roll and the Delungra Honor Roll.

Image: Courtesy IDFHG