Lt Col John McCrae was a Canadian army doctor, working as a field hospital surgeon.

He wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Field’ in 1915 after the funeral and burial of a friend who was killed in the Second Battle of  Ypres.

First published in Punch on 8th December 1915 it quickly became one of the most popular poems of the war. As a result of its popularity, parts of the poem were used in propaganda efforts, appeals to recruit soldiers and in raising money selling war bonds.

Sadly, McCrae died of pneumonia on January 28, 1918, while still commanding No. 3 Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne.

He was buried the following day in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission section of Wimereux Cemetery, just a couple of kilometres up the coast from Boulogne, with full military honours.

His poem has had a huge impact, influencing the way we remember those who died in conflict and his memory lives on today.

In Flanders Fields

The poem by John McCrae

In Flanders' Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders' Fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep,

though poppies grow

In Flanders' Fields.

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