100 Years Ago Today: In Flanders Fields

John_McCrae_in_uniform_circa_1914

William Notman and Son – Guelph Museums, Reference No. M968.354.1.2x

On May 3, 1915 newly promoted Lt-Col. John McCrae penned “In Flanders Fields“, inspired by the death of his good friend Lt. Alexis Helmer. To commemorate the centenary of this famous poem I encourage you to watch the National Film Board of Canada production “John McCrae’s War: In Flanders Fields” which is available online.

You may also wish to view John McCrae’s First World War Service File (PDF, 6.7MB) which has been digitized and is available for viewing on the Library and Archives Canada website.

I’ve also included a small gallery of images from my 2010 visit to Ypres and a page from Punch magazine in which McCrae’s poem was first published, anonymously, on December 8, 1915.

In Flanders Fields

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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