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Echo Article III

The following is the text of a newspaper article from the Cass County Echo that appeared on October 5, 1945.  A copy of this article was provided by the Cass County Historical Society.

Mr. and Mrs. B. J. Hopkins received the following letter from Benny last Thursday afternoon:

September 20, 1945

Dearest Mother, Dad and All:

Well this is about the first time I've had a chance to write without being told what to write, and now that I can I don't know what to say.  There's so damn much I'd like to know I guess I'll just have to wait till I get home which won't be long, I hope.

I was taken out of Japan by the Navy, am writing this aboard the USS Lunga Point, so when you see the return address think nothing of it, but don't send any letters to this ship because I won't be on here.  I'm only here for a few days.

Everyone is OK at home I hope.  I'm as well as could be.  I can't complain.

Boy, the Armistice sure came as a surprise to me.  I was all set to stay in prison for at least another six months.  It sure ended quicker than I expected.

Say, what happened to everyone back home?  I never received any mail at all except three cards from you.  Didn't anyone write or didn't they get thru.  I sure felt like everyone had forgotten about me.  (Mrs. Hopkins had written to Benny at least once a week but apparently the letters were never delivered.)

Well, mom, I can't write all I want to now, so I'll wait till I get home - write and tell the girls I'm on my way.  I'd write to them but I don't know their addresses so you have to do it for me.

Well, bye for now.  I remain,

Your loving son, Benny.

Benny is the sailor who became "Denny" in the moving picture - The Story of Dr. Wassell.  Instead of being left to fight the Japanese as the picture showed, Benny was left at a wayside station, badly burned.  He had fainted several times and his shipmates realized he could never make the escape trip and live.

More than a year went by before any trace of Benny was known.  Then finally a radio short wave broadcast was picked up in which Benny spoke.  Recordings were sent from the west coast to Mrs. Hopkins but still no confirmation came through from Washington that he was a prisoner - [the broadcast was acclaimed propoganda (this portion not legible in article copy)].  Then a card arrived and Mrs. Hopkins knew it was Benny's handwriting.  Finally a second broadcast in February 1944 was confirmed by Washington.

Benny was aboard the Marblehead which was hit off Java.  He received his burns in the explosion in February 1942.  No word of his release has yet come from Washington.

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