History of the Thomas Hopkins Post 4
The Kansas American Legion Post 4 is named in honor of Lieutenant Thomas Hopkins who was killed in the line of duty in France during World War I.
Thomas Hopkins was born on September 15, 1892 in Laramie, WY. His family moved to Wichita where he attended high school in what is now East High where he graduated in 1912. While there he was the captain of the football team and was considered one of the best fullbacks that ever played in the state. He married Edna Evans in July 1917.
Thomas Hopkins was a lieutenant in the local guard, but gave up his commission sometime before the onset of the Great War. Immediately after the declaration of the war he enlisted. He was sent to Camp Doniphan as a First Sergeant, after arriving there due to his fine work he was sent to the Officer’s training school where he received his commission on April 8, 1918. He sailed for France in April of 1918. He was killed in action in France in July of 1918 at the height of battle.
A newspaper article about his heroism reads:
“Private Arthur E. Clinton of Headquarters Company, 139th Infantry, in a letter
recently received by Miss Campbell of 316 Oak Street, sent a copy of the report
of the death of Lieut. Hopkins, a Wichita boy who was killed in action in July.
This report was handed in to Lieut. Hopkins’ company by the American sniper who
killed the three German snipers who had caused the death of Lieut. Hopkins. A
portion of the report, parts deleted by the censors follows:
Lieut. Hopkins ***** seriously wounded, 5AM July 20th, 1918 by a German machine gun sniper, while saving a private soldier of ***** who had been shot and wounded, and had fallen into the wire entanglements. He was standing behind an old house looking out over a field after the raid, and the boys were coming back from the German lines, when the enemy snipers ran up to within forty feet of the boy, and opened up on him while he was trying to get loose from the wire.
Lieut. Hopkins saw him fall and ran out to get him the face of the enemy machine gun. He got to him and got him on his feet, with his arms around the lieutenant’s neck, when the Germans opened up again with their machine gun, shooting through the boy’s arm and into the lieutenant’s neck and spine.
Despite his serious condition, Lieut. Hopkins brought him in, and then went down. He was carried to the hospital where he died three days later. The boys is still alive and well, but the Germans were all killed by Sergeant ---------, our sniper ******.
Private Clinton adds: And so died on of the finest men in the U.S. Army. The boy who was saved has the bullet that killed the lieutenant which he said he was requested to keep until such time as he could turn it over to the lieutenant’s loved ones at home.
In July, Private Clinton wrote to Miss Campbell describing the death of an officer which greatly impressed him, but mentioning no names as he did not know the office was a Wichita man. He finished by saying “That is what I call a real man.”
The circumstances related resembles the published story of the death of Lieut. Hopkins so much that Miss Campbell wrote to Private Clinton, and asked if it was not Lieut. Hopkins of whom he had written. The answer which came this week contained the affirmation, and the copied report of his death.”