James Dickerson was born in Gingin, Western Australia, in 1883. A horse breaker and labourer, James joined the AIF in October 1914, describing his complexion as "dark" on his enlistment papers. James's horsemanship skills enabled him to join Western Australia's 10th Light Horse Regiment, a unit which was destined to distinguish itself at Gallipoli.
In the lead-up to the Gallipoli campaign, the Australians were encamped in Egypt. James's record shows that his training did not run as smoothly as he may have hoped. In early April 1915 he was arrested and charged with assault and drunkenness, an offence for which he served 28 days detention. A few days after his release, James joined his unit as they embarked for Gallipoli, arriving in early May. There the 10th Light Horse suffered terrible casualties in the disastrous charge against Turkish defences at the Nek. Trooper Dickerson survived, but a few weeks later his unit was involved in the assault on Hill 60 and he received serious shell wounds to the buttock and leg. He was removed to the hospital ship Devanha, where he died the following day, on 30 August 1915. Trooper James Dickerson was buried at sea.
James had a younger brother, Harry Dickerson, who also enlisted with the 10th Light Horse as part of the 12th reinforcements. He arrived in Egypt in February 1916 and was discharged from the AIF in September 1919.
Trooper James Dickerson is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial on the Gallipoli peninsula and on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial.