John James Wallace was the eldest son of John Lishman Wallace, a superintendent with Trinity House, and Mary Ann Wallace, née Beavis. He was born in Ramsgate, Kent on 30 July 1879, subsequently moving to London where he and his three siblings lived with their maternal grandparents. In 1901 he was living with his maiden aunts in Acton employed as a warehouseman. In 1907 he was awarded the Theological Associateship of King’s College (A.K.C.) (First Class) from Kings College, London, following a three-year course of study. This was the equivalent of a B.A. pass degree in Theology. He was made a deacon in 1907 and ordained a priest in 1908.
In the Epiphany term of 1908 he joined the University of Durham as an unattached student, passing his first year Theology examination satisfactorily the same term. He passed the final examination for a Licentiate in Theology in the Easter term 1909, the degree being conferred on 25 September 1909. It is recorded in Crockfords that, during his time at Durham, Wallace was curate at St Bartholomew’s Church, Marsden, Huddersfield (1907- 1909). In 1909 he became curate at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Outwood, Wakefield where he served until 1917.
In 1917 he was appointed temporary Chaplain to the Forces, 4th Class (a rank equivalent to Captain), attached to the 8th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment. From the middle of 1915 until the last days of the War, the Regiment was heavily involved in the fighting on the Western Front. The 8th Battalion took part during 1917 in the battles of Messines, Menin Road Ridge, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcapelle, and Passchendaele.
On 7 February 1918 the battalion transferred to the 56th Brigade of the 19th Division and continued to fight on the Western Front. During 1918 it took part in the battles of St Quentin, Bapaume, Messines, Bailleul, Kemmel Ridge, the Aisne, the Selle and the Sambre.
John James Wallace died of wounds in a hospital on 8 November 1918, three days before the end of the war. It is recorded in the Durham University Journal (vol. XXII, no. 2, p.75) Roll of Honour that he was killed whilst helping a wounded soldier. He is buried in Awoingt British Cemetery, near Cambrai, Nord, France. He is also remembered on the memorial to the Royal Army Chaplains Department on the east wall of the Royal Garrison Church of All Saints, in Aldershot, Hampshire, on the war memorial in the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Outwood, Wakefield, and on the war memorial of King’s College, London.