McCrae, Lieutenant-Colonel John National Historic Person

Guelph, Ontario
Portrait of Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae © Expired; Credit: Library and Archives Canada / C-046284
Portrait
© Expired; Credit: Library and Archives Canada / C-046284
Portrait of Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae © Expired; Credit: Library and Archives Canada / C-046284McCrae, Lieutenant-Colonel John © ExpiredMcCrae, Lieutenant-Colonel John © Parks Canada
Address : 108 Water St., Guelph, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1946-05-15
Life Date: 1872 to 1918

Other Name(s):
  • McCrae, Lieutenant-Colonel John  (Designation Name)

Importance: Canadian army physician, wrote "In Flanders Fields", World War I

Plaque(s)


Existing plaque: McCrae House NHSC 108 Water Street, Guelph, Ontario

Born in this house, McCrae qualified as a physician in Toronto and subsequently practised and taught medicine in the United States and Montréal. In 1914 he joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps and as posted overseas where he served until his death. Earlier, he had written the occasional verse and his experience at the front further inspired his poetic efforts. His "In Flanders Fields," published anonymously in 1915, became one of the most celebrated poems of the First World War and made the poppy a lasting symbol of the five million allied soldiers who died in that conflict.

Additional plaque: Dressing Station, Essex Farm Ypres

While serving as a military surgeon in Belgium, John McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields, one of the most enduring poems of the First World War. Born at Guelph, Ontario, he was practicing medicine in Montréal when he volunteered, in 1914, to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force which was being sent to fight in Europe. His stirring poem, written near the trenches at Ypres' salient, provided a strong stimulus to the Allied war effort. McCrae died in 1918 while serving at a Canadian army hospital in Boulogne-sur-Mer. His words have made the poppy a lasting symbol of self-sacrifice in war.