The information below is from James' Defence Force Personnel Record, from Archives NZ.
According to his History-Sheet, his occupation was Farmer and his last employer was 'self'; his last address was Poatiri P.O, Portobello, Dunedin; his religion was Church of England, and his birth-date was recorded as 9 June 1892 at Portobello, Dunedin. His next of kin was listed as Mrs C Clearwater (Mother), Poatiri P.O, Portobello, Dunedin.
His Attestation is dated 24th April 1917 at Dunedin. It says he was born on 9 June 1892 Portobello, Dunedin. His father was listed as William Clearwater (deceased) born at Broad Bay, and mother as Charlotte Clearwater born Portobello. His trade or calling was Farmer, and he last resided at Poatiri P.O., Portobello. He had passed the 4th Educational Standard. His last employer was 'Myself'; and he was single. He had some previous military experience with the 5th Mounted …., and had been rejected as unfit on account of ‘Bad leg’.
His physical description is given as 24 years of age, 5 feet 6 ½ inches tall, weighing 138lbs, with chest measurements of 35 - 39 inches; dark complexion; dark brown eyes; black hair. Religious profession was Church of England. He was classed as Fit, Class A.
James' service number was 55728. Beginning on 29 May 1917, he served 86 days in NZ, 1 year 272 days overseas, for a total of 1 year and 358 days, serving in Western Europe through 1917-18. He was discharged 21 May 1919.
- He was posted to Private 29 May 1917
- Embarked on SS Ulimaroa 26 July 1917
- 6 September 1917 he was punished for Smoking during parade
- Forfeited 14 Days Pay 12 September 1917
- He disembarked from the Ulimaroa at Plymouth on 24 September 1917
- Marched into Sling 24 September 1917
- 25 September 1917 posted to Otago Regiment, 4 Res(erve) Battalion
- Admitted NZ General Hospital, Sling, 26 September 1917
- Discharged to hospital at Codford 6 October 1917
- Posted to 4th Battalion Otago Regiment 26 October 1917
- Proceeding overseas 10 November 1917
- Admitted hospital 12 December 1917, from where he was discharged and returned to Base Depot, France 24 December 1917
- 18 January 1918 he forfeited 4 days pay for being absent from Roll Call
- Joined 1st Otago Battalion and posted to D Company 20 January 1918
- Admitted to hospital April 1918
- Transferred to (a different) hospital 1 May 1918 and then transferred again 28 May
- Discharged to Base 18 June 1918
- Attached to strength 20 June 1918
- Joined Battalion 30 July 1918
- 20 August 1918 Joined 1st Battalion Otago Infantry Regiment, posted to 4th Company
- Wounded in action in the field 23 October 1918 with a shallow shrapnel wound in the lower lumbar muscles
- Admitted to hospital at Etaples 25 October 1918, from where he was transferred to England and admitted to Hornchurch on 6 December 1918. He was deemed unfit for active service for 3 months
- Returned to NZ on the SS Corinthic, embarking at Tilbury on 12 March 1919, arriving Lyttelton 22 April 1919 with an intended address of Hoopers Inlet, Portobello, Dunedin.
His Certificate of Discharge lists his description at enlistment as 24 years 10 months old, 5 feet 6 1/2inches tall, dark complexion, dark brown eyes, black hair and a Farmer by occupation.
He was awarded the British War Medal 1914-19 and the Victory Medal.