Walter Leland Hopkins was born in 1898 at Marysville, Ohio. He attended the Oberlin Academy in 1912-13 and 1915-16. In June 1917, he enlisted in the United States Army Ambulance Service, joining the Princeton University Unit. A similar unit was organized at Oberlin College, Section 587, the Oberlin College Ambulance Unit. The Princeton unit, Section 523, trained in Allentown, Pennsylvania and set sail from New York on August 23, 1917. On September 15 the unit reached Liverpool, England, and Le Havre, France on September 17. The unit was assigned to the French Armed Forces as Section Sanitaire Etats-Unis 523, and served in the 35th Division. The unit saw extensive action in the Marne and Argonne regions, including the Marne campaigns, Argonne-Meuse, and Chateau-Thierry. Hopkins was awarded the Croix de Guerre from the French government for his service. The unit disbanded in February 1919.
Following the war Hopkins returned to the United States and worked as an artist with Tiffany Studios in New York. He died in 1930, the cause of death being attributed to the effects of a gassing during World War I. Walter L. Hopkins was the nephew of Bertha Hopkins (1879-1944), a physical education instructor at Oberlin College and the wife of Oberlin College physical education director Frederick Eugene Leonard (1866-1922).
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