James Way proved his mettle on the football field at Norwood and the battlefields of France, being awarded the Military Cross as a member of the Royal Garrison Artillery in 1916.
Born on 21 December 1877, James was a son of the eminent gynaecologist Dr Edward Way, younger brother of famous South Australian Chief Justice Sir Samuel Way. James thus was a cousin of Norwood 1891 premiership hero Frank White, a natural son of Samuel Way. James did his early schooling at St Peter's College and then switched to Way College*, a new Bible Christian school which lasted just over a decade before converting to Methodist Ladies' College in 1903. He was captain of the Way College football team in 1895 and kicked its only goal in a 10.10 to 1.2 thrashing by his old school.
While studying engineering at the School of Mines, James represented Norwood in 1897 and 1898. This was not a good time for the club, which finished a disappointing third in both years, but James was rated one of the better wingmen in the competition in 1897. He was versatile, too. When the ultimate premier, South Adelaide, knocked Norwood out of the running with a four-goal win in August, it was not his fault. The Observer reported that "Way led the ruck and showed great skill."
Reviewing the 1898 season, 'Goalpost' of The South Australian Register commented that, with "Way ill all season", Norwood was "lamentably weak in followers" other than the lion-hearted Peter Fitzpatrick. James did kick one goal. Electorate football took him to South Adelaide in 1899.
James heard the call to arms and sailed for South Africa early in 1900 to serve as a Trooper in the Boer War with the 2nd South Australian (Mounted Rifles) Contingent. Another member of that contingent was the legendary Harry 'Breaker' Morant. James switched to the Imperial Army and in 1901 obtained a commission as a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery.
In 1908 he was promoted to the temporary rank of captain in the Royal Garrison Artillery. He served with this unit in France from the outset of World War I in 1914 and was promoted to the rank of major. As adjutant of an artillery battery he was mentioned in despatches by Sir John French and awarded the Military Cross in 1916 for distinguished service in the field.
On 25 March 1918, King George V conferred on Major James Way, DSO, MC, the Order of St Maurice and St Lazarus. Cavalier. At Bombay on 3 October 1920 James married Dorothy, youngest daughter of the late Lt-Colonel R. Warner Stone, 80th (South Staffordshire) Regiment, and Mrs Stone of Paignton, Devon.
In September 1901, while James was still at the Boer War, his father Dr Edward Willis Way had died of a heart attack while operating on a patient. Thrice married, the esteemed surgeon and philanthropist was the father of two sons and four daughters.
* Way College for boys opened at Wayville in February 1892 and was named in honour of the Rev. James Way, father of Sir Samuel Way and Dr Edward Way. In turn it became Methodist Ladies' College, Annesley College and Annesley Junior School.
P Robins Feb 2018