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James Shelley was born and raised on the southern Devonshire coast, where he still resides. He earned a Bachelor’s degree with first-class honours in German and History from Swansea University in 2020, winning the Department of History’s Masterman Prize. A year later, he published an academic paper on Dieppe with the War in History journal. In 2019, he was invited by the UK’s Joint Services Command and Staff College to deliver a lecture entitled 'The Germans and Dieppe: A German Learning Experience'. From 2018 to 2019, he taught English in northern Germany on a programme sponsored by the British Council.