John McCrae

Canadian stamp John McCrae

Date of issue: October 15, 1968
Printer: Canadian Bank Note Company
Design: Imre von Mosdossy

John McCrae

John McCrae was born in Guelph in 1872. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a BA in 1894 and an MD in 1898. During his time as a medical student, he also published a number of poems and short stories. After receiving his medical degree in 1898, he enrolled in the Canadian Field Artillery and participated in the South African War. Upon his return to Canada in 1901, he practiced pathology at the Montreal General Hospital and (after 1904) medicine at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Following Canada’s declaration of war in 1914, McCrae again joined the Canadian Artillery and subsequently tended to hundreds of soldiers wounded in the trenches in Belgium. He also continued writing poetry, including the famous In Flanders Fields, which became popular throughout the world. The adoption of the poppy as a Flower of Remembrance for those lost during the war is largely due to the impact of McCrae’s poem. He died from pneumonia acquired while on the battlefield in 1918.

The Stamp

The stamp, issued 50 years after McCrae’s death, depicts him in military uniform with red poppies and crosses in the field behind. The first two lines of McCrae’s own handwritten copy of In Flanders Fields are reproduced. The first line of the poem is seen on the first day cover. The entire poem is seen in a pane associated with a 2015 Flanders Field stamp, which is dominated by an enlarged poppy with crosses and larks in the background.

First-day cover John McCrae

Canadian stamp panel John McCrae

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