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Echo Article I

The following is the text of a newspaper article from the Cass County Echo that appeared on November 8, 1943.  A copy of this article was provided by the Cass County Historical Society.

When Benny Hopkins returns to Plattsmouth, we believe his tale will be among the most dramatic to come from veterans of this war.

Ben enlisted in 1940.  He was 20 on the 16th of September and left for service the 18th.  A furlogh after boot training is the only time his parents, Mr. and Mrs. G. B. Hopkins, Lincoln Ave., have seen him since he entered the Navy.

He served on the Marblehead and was burned when she was attacked off Java.  The crew was (illegible) captive by the Japs.  One group, Dr. Wassell and nine boys, escaped through the jungle to the coast where they boarded the Jentzen and finally made their way to Australia and then to United States.

Ben was to have been the 10th boy in that group but his injuries would not permit such a trip so he was left behind.

Anxious months passed while his parents feared Benny could not have lived.

Then last December 21 a "ham" station at Pawnee City picked up a broadcast from a Japanese prison camp.  Benny spoke over the radio - said he was well - and asked anyone listening to send word to his parents.  On the rebroadcast that night, Eugene Shelby of Long Beach, Calif., caught the message on a record and sent it to Benny's parents.

This fall Mrs. Hopkins went to California to visit her daughters, Mrs. C. B. Smith, Santa Monica, and Mrs. Virgil Kline, Venice, Calif.  While there they were invited to visit the moving picture sets where the "Stor of Dr. Wassell" was being filmed.  The story of the bombing and escape are a part of the story.  Benny's part is being played by Dennis O'Keefe.  The picture is to be released soon after the first of the year.

After a month Mrs. Hopkins returned to Plattsmouth.  The day after she arrived, Friday, October 29th, a postcard came from Benny - telling of his safety and there being no bad after affects of his injuries and hoping to see them all soon and "don't worry."  Also adding to tell everyone hello.

"What if I hadn't been here when that card came," Mrs. Hopkins says in wonder.

While the recording did leave some doubt of Benny's voice she says there is no doubt about the signature on the card being Benny's very own.

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