In Flanders Fields – Major John McRae

May 21, 2014

The Mad Game Newsreel

At the Second Battle of Ypres, Canadian artillery officer, Lt Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2 May 1915 by shellfire. He was serving in the same Canadian unit as a friend of his, the Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae.


As the brigade doctor, Maj. McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Lt Helmer as the chaplain was otherwise engaged. It is believed that later that evening, after the burial, McRae began the draft for his now famous poem “In Flanders Fields”.

poppy growing wild on Ieperstraat

Poppy growing wild on Ieperstraat

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.

Poppy growing wild in Ypres

Poppy growing wild in Ypres

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