James William Adams was the eldest son of Matthew and Catherine Adams. James Adams was born 1st January 1894. He was the first of three sons. His father and his grandfather were both blacksmiths. His father died when he was young. By 1911 he was serving with the Royal Irish Rifles. Sergeant James William Adams was serving with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles when he was killed in action on Sunday 2nd December 1917 by a trench mortar.
The Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing forms the north-eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery, which is located 9 kilometres north east of Ieper town centre, on the Tynecotstraat, a road leading from the Zonnebeekseweg (N332). The names of those from United Kingdom units are inscribed on Panels arranged by Regiment under their respective Ranks. The names of those from New Zealand units are inscribed on panels within the New Zealand Memorial Apse located at the centre of the Memorial.