James was born at Nullamanna near Inverell in 1894, the elder son and second of four children of George Henry and Phoebe Lennard. He was a twenty one year old labourer living at Swan Vale, east of Inverell, when he enlisted on 12 January 1916.
As one of the First Contingent of The Kurrajongs he left Inverell on that day, travelling by train to the Narrabri camp and taking part in the recruiting rallies at Warialda and Moree. He became a member of the 33rd Battalion, D Company, which trained at Armidale and Rutherford prior to departure from Australia on 4th May 1916. After arriving in England, the Battalion trained as part of the 3rd Division at Salisbury Plain and was sent to France in Novemeber.
James wrote a great poem about The Kurrajongs, the second verse starting with the words -
We shall never forget as we left Inverell
The crowds of old friends who bade us farewell
He survived the terrible freezing winter of 1916-17 in France before going into action at the Battle of Messines where he was killed on 7 June 1917. Private Lennard has no known grave and his name is inscribed on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial in Belgium.
At Inverell his name is recorded on the Honor Roll and Cenotaph. In 1919 a tree was planted in his memory in Kurrajong Parade.