Henry Edward James enlisted in the D.L.I Territorial Forces in Barnard Castle on 4.4.1911 at the age of 14 years and 7 months. He was based in England from 5.8.1914 until he embarked for Boulogne on 19.4.1915. On 26.4 1915, he suffered a shrapnel wound to his back left shoulder in action. He was returned to base on 1.5.1915 and sent to England on 18.10.1915, where he was admitted to the 2nd Birmingham War hospital. He remained there until 3.12.1915 when he returned home. He was discharged from the army on 10.3.1916, aged 19 years and 5 months, being no longer fit for war service. His service records describe him as steady, reliable and trustworthy.
At the age of 19 he was diagnosed with Goitre due to an enlarged thyroid, not attributable to his military service.