James John Fleming was born in Orange in 1886. His parents James Patrick and Ellen Letitia Fleming lived at Eulalie in Stuart Town and James snr worked as a miner.
On 16 July 1917 James jnr enlisted for war service at Albury; he was 31 years of age. His younger brother Hughy had enlisted in Queensland in January 1916. James proceeded to Liverpool camp and embarked for overseas service on 31 October.
Private James Fleming disembarked at Devonport on Boxing Day 1917 and was marched in to the 1st Training Battalion at Sutton Veny. Two weeks later he was admitted to the Group Clearing Hospital suffering from mumps.
James was discharged from hospital on 22 January 1918. He returned to the 1st Training Battalion for a further three months before proceeding to France on 23 April. James’ brother Hughy was killed in action in Belgium one month earlier, on 16 March. It is unclear whether James was aware of his brother’s death.
On 30 April 1918 James was taken on strength with the 3rd Battalion. On the evening of 20 June 1918 he was serving in the trenches at Strazeele in northern France when an enemy shell fell nearby, instantly killing Fleming and two others.
When James enlisted he nominated his father as his next of kin (his mother having died in 1902). He named his cousin Rachael Charlton of Dubbo as executor and beneficiary of his will.
James snr had died in Stuart Town on 8 May 1918, just six weeks before James jnr’s death in action. The coroner returned the verdict:
The deceased died from the effects of poisoning self-administered.
James snr had committed suicide by ingesting strychnine, presumably after learning of Hughy’s death.
In February 1919 Rachael received James jnr’s personal effects. Both James’ and Hughy’s war medals were issued to their brother Ambrose.
James John Fleming is commemorated on panel number 36 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.