James Dalton was born 25 May 1883 at Woolloomooloo, Sydney, the son of Captain John Dalton and his wife Eliza. At the time he had one half-sister, Annie, and later John, Fanny, Ida, Harry and William joined the family. By 1885 the family was established at Nelson Bay where James attended school. In 1898 they purchased a farm, "Burton Agnes", in Marsh Road, Salt Ash and when Captain Dalton died in 1912 James and his brother Harry took over its administration which included vegetables and dairy produce.
James was a very patriotic Australian and single, so when England declared war on Germany in August 1914 he felt, like many other Australians, it was his duty to join the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) and assist in defending the "Motherland". That select group were later renown as "the originals". Because of his rural background he was initially placed into the Divisional Ammunition Column and was later attached to the 2nd Brigade Ammunition Column as a gunner. On 18th October 1914 he sailed out of Sydney Harbour aboard the HMAT Argyllshire bound for Egypt.
He served in Gallipoli, and was wounded during the Battle of Lone Pine. From Gallipoli, he was sent to France in the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade( 4th Battery) and was wounded in the chest and back on 22 June 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. He then spent 6 months in England recuperating.
On returning to the front, he was promoted to corporal and fought at Lagnicourt (March-April 1917). He was wounded in the arm in June 1917. After a month's recuperation he rejoined the 4th Battery, was promoted to sergeant and was killed in action on 11 October 1917 during the early stages of the Battle of Passchendaele.
Chris Bourne, 2012
Letter 010 - Letter from James Dalton to his mother and to his brother William from SS Argyllshire, Albany, 31 October 1914
Letter 014 - Letter from James Dalton to Jack Dalton from SS Argyllshire near Aden, 23 November 1914
Letter 015 - Letter from James Dalton to Ida and Harry Dalton from SS Argyllshire near Aden, 24 November 1914
1st Australian Division
Oct. 1916 Age 33 years