James Wharton, originally from North Wales, joined the British Army in August 2003. On completion of his initial training James entered the ranks of the Household Cavalry, choosing to be a member of the elite Blues and Royals. In 2007 James served in Southern Iraq for seven months carrying out his duties as an Armoured Reconnaissance soldier. In 2008 he spent 4 months assisting in the training of other troops preparing for active service at the British Army's training facility in Alberta, Canada. James has played a part on all major state occasions including the State Opening of Parliament, Lord Mayors Parade, Cenotaph Parade, and the Queen’s Birthday Parade. In April 2011, James was honoured to be escorting the Sovereign on the occasion of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding.
James was the first openly gay person to appear on the front cover of Soldier magazine, the British Army's official publication, which also had an in-depth article on James' life as its feature. Marrying his long term partner Thomas in March 2010 James and his husband became the first same sex couple to have their relationship formalised in the Household Cavalry's 350 year history. More so, they enjoyed the celebrations within the very walls of the Knightsbridge based barracks.
James has modeled for Ross Watson, who created a painting and a number of photographic portraits of James in August 2011; some of which have been bought by Sir Elton John. The painting and portraits made their debut in December 2011 in Sydney at Ross' 25th anniversary in art exhibition.
James is currently touring secondary schools in the UK as a positive role model for Stonewall in their Education for All campaign, talking of his experiences as an 'out' gay soldier in the British Military. He has also featured in Stonewall's Role Model guide. James has ranked in the top 20 of the Independent On Sunday's Pink List for the past 3 consecutive years down to his work fighting homophobia within Britain's Schools and his LGB activism commitments.
1. The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom
This is the perfect book for someone who doesn’t particularly believe in god and religion. It’s an alternative ending of one’s life and throws out another answer to the great question: What happens next?
2. The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, by Randy Shilts
Harvey Milk is one of my heroes. I’m fascinated by who he was and the life he lead before becoming a beacon of gay rights and the gay rights movement of America. The book informs the reader that although Milk’s public life was surrounded with intolerance and ultimately ended in tragedy; his personal life was equally as hard fought and contributed to hugely to his untimely end.
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
I read the Kite Runner whilst serving in Basra in 2007 and was incredibly moved by the story and the underlying theme of personal and cultural tragedy felt by the people of Afghanistan in the late part of the last century.