M968.358.1x | John McCrae on Bonfire

John McCrae on Bonfire
Caudeville Photographs
About 1916, 20th century
15.1 x 11 cm
This artefact belongs to : © Guelph Museums
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Keys to History

John McCrae hired a photographer to take pictures of himself with his animal companions - his horse Bonfire and his dog Bonneau. As the war raged on, he often retreated into their company, taking long rides through the French countryside. Horse and rider spent almost the whole war together, since Bonfire had been given to McCrae as a gift before he left Montreal.

In letters home to his mother, he described the antics of his 'furry family' in detail. Included in this cast were a rabbit, a hen, a kitten, Bonneau's mother Follette and several other dogs, including a puppy from Follette's new litter.

  • What

    The adopted dog Bonneau often joined McCrae and Bonfire on rides in the countryside, and was famous for following John on his rounds through the medical wards.

  • Where

    This photo was taken in the stable yard of Number 3 Canadian General Hospital in France.

  • When

    This photo was sent home with a letter from John McCrae dated April 29, 1917. In the letter he talked about the "considerable expense" of having this portrait taken.

  • Who

    The photographic company responsible for this photo was Caudeville Photographs.