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Remember Flanders - Guelph

Hidden photo gallery

  • Front
    (Click for more images)
  • Bust of McCrae
  • Notepad with the poem In Flanders Fields inscribed
  • Cap badge and medical bag
  • Poppies
  • Statue

Municipality/Province: Guelph, ON

Memorial Number: 35026-026

Type: Sculpture (bronze) with plaque

Address: 52 Norfolk Street

Location: On the grounds of the Guelph Civic Museum

GPS Coordinates: Lat: 43.5434867   Long: -80.2512814

Submitted By: Victoria Edwards

Photo Credit: Tim Laye, Ontario War Memorials

The Remember Flanders memorial in Guelph (and Ottawa) was designed by Canadian sculptor Ruth Abernethy. The hand-sculpted figure and the log on which McCrae is seated were sculpted as one piece. The two ends of the log and the base of rock and dirt were sculpted in another studio. Ruth was assisted by Cassie Koch and Lynette Schlichting who worked on the trees and base.

The crested buttons, the cap badge and uniform details are specific to John McCrae, 1915. As he writes with a notepad in hand, his medical bag is nearby and at his feet are poppies representing each of Canada's 23 regiments. In part because of the poem's popularity, the poppy was adopted as the Flower of Remembrance for the war dead of Britain, France, the United States, Canada and other Commonwealth countries.

The statue was promoted by the McCrae Statue Committee fundraising chair Lt.-Col. (Ret.) Michael McKay and former Navy veteran Bill Winegard, and produced by the Canadian sculptor Ruth Abernethy. The Campaign Goal of $300,000 was raised through the endorsement and support of community-minded philanthropists, organizations, businesses and citizens. The Rotary Club of Guelph contributed an initial $40,000 (with a $100,000 pledge) for the statue. Contributors included military personnel and Royal Canadian Legion organizations, such as the John McCrae branch 234 in Guelph. It was unveiled on June 25, 2015 and is dedicated to Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, celebrating his career as an Artillery Officer and Medical Officer. The memorial commemorates the Centennials of the Second Battle of Ypres, the Saint Julien Gas Attacks, and the writing of In Flanders Fields.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae, one of the important sons of the city of Guelph, born in 1872, was raised in Guelph, and his limestone cottage on Guelph’s Water Street is home to the McCrae House Museum, a part of Guelph Museums, comprising the Guelph Civic Museum. Guelph’s 11th Field Artillery Regiment was once commanded by Capt. David McCrae, John McCrae’s father. Members of this regiment have served since the last world war in various roles, primarily peacekeeping efforts internationally. John McCrae succumbed to complications of pneumonia and meningitis in 1918.

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Inscription found on memorial


Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae
Some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place in the trenches near Ypres, Belgium. It was during the Second Battle of Ypres that the German Army first used deadly chlorine gas against Allied troops. Despite the debilitating effects of the gas, Canadian soldiers fought relentlessly and held the line. Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae was inspired to write the poem In Flanders Fields after presiding over the burial of a friend during this battle.

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