In 1915 McCrae was a field surgeon in the Canadian artillery, in charge of a field hospital during the Second Battle of Ypres (a city in Belgium.) It was the death and then burial of a former student who was killed in the battle that inspired him to write the famous poem, which was first published in the magazine Punch. According to legend McCrae initially threw away the poem, but friends retrieved it.
It’s because of his references to poppies growing on the graves of soldiers, and the popularity of ‘In Flanders Fields‘, that the red poppy Canadians wear on Remembrance Day, has become recognized internationally as a symbol for soldiers killed in conflicts.
Have you visited McCrae House in Guelph, or Essex Farm Cemetery in Belgium where he wrote the pome? Please share…
McCrae House, 108 Water St Guelph, Ontario