Educated at Glasgow and Edinburgh Academies.
RAF commission in 1923, transferred to reserve 1928, then a lifeguard and air-mail pilot in Australia.
Made many record flights:
m. Amy Johnson, 1932 (divorced 1936)
with second wife Phylis Hussey, 12 Nov 1938
One of the greatest solo pilots of the 1930s, but well past his glory days by the time he joined the ATA; through his constant drinking over the years, he had developed a very florid complexion, and in order to disguise it he had taken to powdering his face. When teased about this he said, "One must think of one's public, you know"
Hugh Bergel thought that he was "an infinitely nicer man than seemed possible after all the things that I had heard and read about him."
Despite his drinking, Jim completed over 1,000 delivery flights on 62 different aircraft types; he reckoned that, on a conservative estimate, he delivered not less than £15 million pounds worth of aircraft.
"...One cannot be young for long, and it has always been my practice to live for the moment."
d 30 October 1959 - Roehampton, from alcoholic epilepsy.