Guelph02 | John McCrae's medals

John McCrae's medals
1999, 20th century
15 x 10.4 cm
This artefact belongs to : © Guelph Museums
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Keys to History

These highly esteemed medals would be less significant had they not been awarded to the war poet who was also one of Canada's most noted medical heroes. An examination of each medal and the events that led to its being awarded allows us to learn more about John McCrae life and Canada's role in world history in the early 20th century.

  • What

    John McCrae's military medals consist of two (on the left) issued for service in the Boer War; the others and the large medallion on the right are for service in the First World War.

  • Where

    John McCrae received the Boer War medal at a ceremony outside the main railway station in Montreal. The First World War medals were issued for service in France and Belgium.

  • When

    John McCrae received his Boer War medal on September 18, 1901. His First World War medals, awarded posthumously, were sent to his family at various times between 1920 and 1923.

  • Who

    After disappearing from view, John McCrae's medals resurfaced at a Toronto auction house and were purchased by Canadian businessman Arthur Lee, who in turn donated them to McCrae House.