McCrae, Lieutenant-Colonel John National Historic Person
Lt.-Col. John McCrae and his dog Bonneau
© Bibliothèque et Archives Canada // Library and Archives Canada / C-046284
108 Water Street, Guelph, Ontario
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1872 to 1918
McCrae, Lieutenant-Colonel John
Canadian army physician during World War I, wrote "In Flanders Fields"
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.Existing plaque: 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 was 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.