James Waddell (11 October 1873 – 18 February 1954) was one of New Zealand's most highly decorated soldiers of the First World War. Waddell was received in the French Legion of Honour and promoted twice. He was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre seven times during the war.
Born in Dunedin Waddell attended Otago Boys' High School and then Canterbury College in the evening to prepare for, and win, the first New Zealand government military scholarship. In 1895 he became the first New Zealander to pass the open examination for an officer's commission in the British Army.
Waddell entered the British Army in 1895 and was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion (Duke of Wellington's) West Riding Regiment. He saw service in Natal and India. During this period, he faced prejudice from his fellow officers in part because of his colonial origins. Other factors reportedly contributing to his ostracism included his sm