10 Quick Fact­son... In Flan­ders Fields

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1. Lieu­tenant Colonel John McCrae was the Cana­dian army doc­tor who wrote the world fa­mous poem In Flan­ders Fields.

2. John McCrae was born in Guelph, On­tario, on Novem­ber 30, 1872.

3. He at­tended the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto Med­i­cal School. He liked to write and some of his po­ems and short sto­ries were pub­lished in a va­ri­ety of mag­a­zines. He com­pleted his de­gree in 1898.

4. He led a bat­tery with the Cana­dian Field Ar­tillery dur­ing the South African War.

5. When the First World War broke out in 1914, McCrae was 41 years old. He en­listed and was ap­pointed bri­gade-sur­geon in the First Bri­gade of the Cana­dian Field Ar­tillery.

6. In April 1915, McCrae was sta­tioned near Ypres, Bel­gium, in the area called Flan­ders.

7. On May 2, 1915, McCrae’s friend, Lieu­tenant Alexis Helmer, was killed in ac­tion and buried in a makeshift grave. Wild pop­pies were al­ready be­gin­ning to bloom be­tween the crosses mark­ing the many graves and he was in­spired to write “In Flan­ders Fields” the next day.

8. “In Flan­ders Fields” was first pub­lished in Eng­land’s “Punch” mag­a­zine in De­cem­ber 1915. Within months, this poem came to sym­bol­ize the sac­ri­fice of all who were fight­ing in the First World War.

9. John McCrae died on Jan­uary 28, 1918, of ill­ness and is buried in Wimereux Ceme­tery, near Boulogne, France.

10. To­day, peo­ple around the world con­tinue to re­cite the fa­mous poem.

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