A note from his son says that James never studied engineering at college but that he learnt it the hard way. He served 3 years and 8 months with the Royal Engineers in WWI. As an engineer building British railways in Argentina his copy of 'Trautwine' (now in the trust archive) was his Bible. It bears his hand written index at the back and carries his only know signature on the preface. It is a first edition published 1872.