John McCrae was born on November 30th, 1872 in Guelph, Ontario. Primarily a medical man, he studied for his B.A. at the University of Toronto, all the while being a member of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada where he was promoted to Captain.
He then became the resident master in English and Math at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph. Upon returning to finish his B.A. at Toronto University, McCrae then began studying medicine and while in school, tutored other students. He completed his medical residency in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1905 he set up his own practice and yet he continued to lecture and work at various hospitals. His medical career was interrupted as he served with the artillery during the Second Boer War, and his return to North America became the professor of pathology at the University of Vermont.
On June 28th, 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated, bringing about the start of the Great War. McCrae served as a field surgeon in the Canadian artillery. In June 1915, McCrae was ordered to setup the No. 3 Canadian General Hospital at Dannes-Camiers. After having to move due to insufferable weather conditions, the hospital set up at the Jesuit College in Boulogne-sur-Mer.
On January 28, 1918, John McCrae passed away from pneumonia. His body is buried in the Wimereux Cemetery in France.
John McCrae was the author of In Flounders Fields.