Per his military service record (regimental no. 4928), James Simpson was born at Hollytown, Scotland. He gave his age as 30 years, his marital status as single, and his occupation as iron and steel smelting. His description on his Certificate of Medical Examination was height 5 feet 6 ¾ inches tall, with a dark complexion, hazel eyes, and black hair. His religious denomination was Presbyterian. He claimed that he had no previous military service.
He completed his medical examination, and was attested by Lieutenant F. Middenway, at Springwood on 8th November 1915 (the day the Coo-ees arrived at Springwood).
After the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.
On 4th February 1916 Private Simpson was charged with being absent without leave for 1 day from the Liverpool Camp. He was fined 5 shillings.
On 22nd February 1916 he was charged with being absent without leave for 4 days. He was fined 2 pounds.
On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was not listed. His next of kin is listed as his sister, Miss L. Simpson, Midcot, Mossend, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
On 8th March 1916 Private Simpson, along with many of the other Coo-ees, departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion, and arrived in Egypt on the 11th April 1916.
On 16th April 1916 Private Simpson was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir.
On 15th May 1916 Private Simpson was sent to the 12th Australian Field Ambulance sick. He was discharged on 19th May 1916.
On 4th June 1916 Private Simpson left Alexandria aboard the Transport Scotian bound for France. He arrived at Marseilles on 11th June 1916.
After serving with the 4th Pioneer Battalion in France for 6 months, on 14th December 1916 Private Simpson was sent to the 13th Australian Field Ambulance sick with Diarrhoea. He was sent to the ANZAC Rest Station later that day. He was discharged and rejoined his unit on 31st December 1916.
On 21st July 1917 Private Simpson was sent to the 13th Australian Field Ambulance sick. He was moved back to the 2nd Casualty Clearing Station. On 23rd July 1917 he was placed aboard the 12th Ambulance Train and on 26th July 1917 he was admitted to the 39th General Hospital at Le Harve, France.
He was discharged from hospital and marched into the 4th Australian Base Depot at Le Harve on 6th September 1917.
On 10th September 1917 Private Simpson was readmitted sick to the 39th General Hospital. He was discharged to the 1st Australian Clearning Station on 26th September 1917.
He rejoined the 4th Pioneer Battalion on 17th January 1918.
On 5th March 1918 Private Simpson was charged with being absent without leave from 0900 on 26th February 1918 till 1530 on 5th March 1918. He was fined 18 days pay.
On 14th October 1918 Private Simpson was granted leave to England. He rejoined the 4th Pioneer Battalion on 30th October 1918.
On 27th January 1919 Private Simpson marched into the Australian Base Depot at Le Harve to commence his return to England.
On 10th February 1919 Private Simpson departed the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Le Harve for England. He arrived at Weymouth, England, on 11th February 1919.
On 1st July 1919 Private Simpson left England on the H.T. Frankfurt bound for Australia.
He arrived in Australia on 21st August 1919.
He was discharged termination of period of enlistment on 13th October 1919.
 NAA B2455, SIMPSON JAMES
 Australian War Memorial. First World War Embarkation Roll, James Simpson, 4928.