Then Man Behind the Poem: Guelph, Ontario’s Lt. Col. John McCrae

John McCrae as a physician in Montreal, 1912

John McCrae as a physician in Montreal, 1912 (Photo Credit: Guelph Museums)

When someone is asked today “Who was Lt. Col. John McCrae?”, nearly everyone will answer that he was a physician with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War of 1914-1918 who just happened to write the most famous war poem of all time. This poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’ would become a global symbol of war remembrance still in use almost a century after McCrae’s death. Yet, what is least common, is who was John McCrae the man? There are a lot of interesting little stories about the non-military side of John McCrae that a lot of people don’t know. For example, what was the one thing he did to ease the pain of a dying child in Montreal, what special thing did he do for his nieces and nephews back home in Guelph while he was at war, and who was the young woman who captured his heart? Read on and I’ll fill you in on some stories about Guelph most famous son plus I’ll show you some rarely seen pictures, courtesy of Guelph Museums, of John McCrae the man.

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