James Alfred Thompson was born in Ballarat and was a Letter Sorter by trade when he enlisted in the 22nd Battalion, 18th Reinforcement on 1 August 1916 at the age of 28. His unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A20 Hororata on 23 November 1916 disembarking at Plymouth, England, on January 29th 1917. In October he joined the 22nd Battalion in France and in December he was transferred to the 24th Battalion. On March 22nd 1918 he was severely gassed and evacuated to the Southwark Military Hospital in England. He was able to rejoin his battalion in France in August, and saw out the final three months of the war. After the war his pre-war skills and experience were utilised when he was transferred to the Postal Corps. He returned home on the Persic disembarking at Melbourne on August 29th 1919.
Tree number 1061