Canadian Virtual War Memorial
In memory of
January 28, 1918
- Canadian Army Medical Corps
- No. 3 (McGill) Canadian General Hospital
- Queen's South Africa Medal with Clasps, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
- November 30, 1872 Guelph, Ontario
John McCrae was the second son of Lieutenant-Colonel David McCrae and Janet Simpson Eckford McCrae. He had a sister, Geills, and a brother, Tom.
John McCrae began writing poetry while a student at the Guelph Collegiate Institute. As a young boy, he was also interested in the military. He joined the Highfield Cadet Corps at 14 and at 17 enlisted in the Militia field battery commanded by his father.
The day before he wrote his famous poem, one of McCrae's closest friends was killed in the fighting and buried in a makeshift grave with a simple wooden cross. Wild poppies were already beginning to bloom between the crosses marking the many graves. Unable to help his friend or any of the others who had died, John McCrae gave them a voice through his poem. It was the second last poem he was to write.
On January 28, 1918, after an illness of five days, he died of pneumonia and meningitis. The day he fell ill, he learned he had been appointed consulting physician to the First British Army, the first Canadian so honoured.
- WIMEREUX COMMUNAL CEMETERY ; Pas de Calais, France
- Grave Reference:
- IV. H. 3.
- Wimereux is a small town situated about 5 kilometres north of Boulogne. From Boulogne take the A16 to Calais and come off at Junction 4. Take the road to Wimereux north, D242, for approximately 2 kilometres, following the road through the roundabout. Take the first turn on the left immediately after the roundabout and the WIMEREUX COMMUNAL CEMETERY lies approximately 200 metres down this road on the left hand side. The Commonwealth War Graves are situated to the rear of the communal cemetery.
Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
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