In Flanders Fields

In most ceremonies of remembrance there is a reading of an appropriate poem designed to help the listener understand the experiences of service people and their relatives in wartime.

The poem was written by a Canadian Medical Corps doctor, Major John McCrae, who was serving with a Field Artillery Brigade in Ypres. The death of one of his friends in May 1915, buried in the cemetery outside his dressing station, affected him severly and he wrote his poem as a way of expressing his anguish at the loss. He was dissatisfied with the poem when he finished it and threw it away but one of his fellow officers retrieved it and was so moved that he sent to the media in London, where it was published by Punch on 8th December 1915. Its simple but evocative encapsulation of the horror of the trenches has made it the most famous of war poems.



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.