The son of James Alexander and Mary Riddle Connelly of Pennsylvania, James Alexander Connelly joined the French Foreign Legion but transferred to the Lafayette Flying Corps in 1917. Receiving a Pilot's Brevet in November 1917, he was assigned to Spa157 on 15 January 1918. Flying the SPAD VII, he scored two victories before being reassigned to Spa163 on 27 June 1918. He served with this Escadrille until the end of the war, scoring five more victories. Post-war he was a businessman in Philadelphia. In 1925, he married Elizabeth Atterbury, daughter of railway magnate General William Wallace Atterbury.
Lafayette Escadrille Veteran Flyer Dies By Associated Press
BRYN MAWR, Pa., Feb. 1.—James Alexander Connelly Jr., 49, who was a member of the Lafayette Escadrille, engaged in 65 air battles and brought down seven German planes in the first World War, died Tuesday in Bryn Mawr Hospital.
Connelly received 14 decorations from the American, French, and British governments. He was a native of Merion, Pa.
San Antonio Express - Wednesday, February 02, 1944
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, Wednesday, 2 February 1944, page 1
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States at Suippes, France, on 6 September 1918, and in recognition of his gallant conduct, I have awarded him, in the name of the President, the Distinguished Service Cross.
J.J. Pershing, Commander-In-Chief, United States Air Service
Voluntarily enlisted for the duration of the war, has become indispensable by greatness of his character, his qualities as a pilot, and his complete contempt for danger. On 6 September 1918, he reported his fifth victory by downing an enemy scout. Three citations.