McGill lecturer and poet John McCrae inducted into Medical Hall of Fame

John McCrae, McGill professor and author of the iconic poem "In Flanders Fields" is to be posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. National Archives of Canada/The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — John McCrae, the author of the iconic poem “In Flanders Fields” and a former lecturer at McGill University, is to be posthumously inducted into the Medical Hall of Fame.

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is a national charity that celebrates Canadian heroes whose work has advanced health and inspired others to pursue careers in the health sciences.

McCrae (1872-1918) is one of six nominees, which include Alan Bernstein, Judith G. Hall, Bernard Langer, Julio Montaner and Duncan G. Sinclair.

According to the charity, McCrae is considered one of the best trained physicians of his generation, and his research advanced our understanding of tuberculosis, scarlet fever, nephritis and lobar pneumonia.

He completed his medical degree at the University of Toronto in 1898, an internship at Johns Hopkins University with Sir William Osler, and a pathology fellowship and laboratory training at McGill University. McCrae was a resident pathologist at the Montreal General Hospital, an assistant pathologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital and a pathology lecturer at McGill University.

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He also¬†penned the popular¬†war memorial poem “In Flanders Fields,” which is thought to have led to the use of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance in Canada, Britain and many other Commonwealth countries.

On January 28, 1918, McCrae died from complications related to pneumonia and meningitis.

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 amidst 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.

A poster from McGill University’s Print Collection in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division holdings. Frank Lucie Nicolet, McGill University

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