To All Who Sacrificed: We Shall Never Forget

The First World War was a tragedy on a scale that had not been seen before …

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.

“In Flanders Fields” is a war poem written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.

The story goes that McCrae was unhappy with the poem and threw it away, but it was saved by fellow soldiers and published in London’s Punch magazine.

McCrae fought at Ypres and had to bury a close friend in the fields of Flanders, Belgium. He noticed how quickly poppies grew around the graves.

The poem’s reference to red poppies helped make the poppy internationally recognized as a symbol of Remembrance Day.

World War I was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. The Allies lost around 6 million military personnel and the Central Powers lost around 4 million.

It was called “the war to end war”.

Listen to Samuel Barber’s haunting Adagio for Strings as you scroll through images of the horror and sadness of the First World War.

Infantry from the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Regiment, New Zealand Division in the Switch Line near Flers, taken some time in September 1916, after the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
Infantry from the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Regiment, New Zealand Division in the Switch Line near Flers, taken some time in September 1916, after the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
A ration party of the Royal Irish Rifles in a communication trench during the Battle of the Somme
A ration party of the Royal Irish Rifles in a communication trench during the Battle of the Somme
A German prisoner helps British wounded make their way to a dressing station near Bernafay Wood following fighting on Bazentin Ridge, 19 July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme.
A German prisoner helps British wounded make their way to a dressing station near Bernafay Wood following fighting on Bazentin Ridge, 19 July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme.
Gathering the wounded.
Gathering the wounded.
Soldiers of an Australian 4th Division field artillery brigade on a duckboard track passing through Chateau Wood, near Hooge in the Ypres salient, 29 October 1917
Soldiers of an Australian 4th Division field artillery brigade on a duckboard track passing through Chateau Wood, near Hooge in the Ypres salient, 29 October 1917
British soldiers haul an 18 pdr field gun out of the mud near Zillebeke.
British soldiers haul an 18 pdr field gun out of the mud near Zillebeke.
'Man in the mud' sculpture in the Australian War Memorial. Adapted from image by Nick-D.
‘Man in the mud’ sculpture in the Australian War Memorial. Adapted from image by Nick-D.
Trench feet.
Trench feet.
Troops 'going over the top' at the start of the Battle of the Somme in 1916
Troops ‘going over the top’ at the start of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
Soldiers drill in their gas masks during World War I
Soldiers drill in their gas masks during World War I.
Men of the 12th Royal Scots wear respirators during a gas attack on a front line trench, Meteren.
Men of the 12th Royal Scots wear respirators during a gas attack on a front line trench, Meteren.
British 55th (West Lancashire) Division troops blinded by tear gas await treatment 10 April 1918, part of the German offensive in Flanders.
British 55th (West Lancashire) Division troops blinded by tear gas await treatment 10 April 1918, part of the German offensive in Flanders.
Members of the 6th Battalion in August 1918 near Lihons during the Battle of Amiens.
Members of the 6th Battalion in August 1918 near Lihons during the Battle of Amiens.
Stretcher bearers struggle in mud up to their knees to carry a wounded man to safety near Boesinghe on 1 August 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres.
Stretcher bearers struggle in mud up to their knees to carry a wounded man to safety near Boesinghe on 1 August 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres.
'The Response', World War I Memorial, Barras Bridge
‘The Response’, World War I Memorial, Barras Bridge. Sir W Goscombe John’s highly detailed bronze sculpture (1923) showing, in life-size figures, the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers marching down the Great North Road to the Central Station in 1915, with their families alongside.
Wytschaete Military Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery war cross
Wytschaete Military Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery war cross.
Tyne Cot cemetery, the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world, for WW1. The 'Cross of Sacrifice' can be seen in the background
Tyne Cot cemetery, the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world, for WW1. The ‘Cross of Sacrifice’ can be seen in the background.
Ossuary of Douaumont, Verdun, France
Ossuary of Douaumont, Verdun, France. Photo credit: Paul Arps.
Lafayette Escadrille memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France. During World War I, it was a French Air Service squadron comprised largely of volunteer American fighter pilots.
Lafayette Escadrille memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France. During World War I, it was a French Air Service squadron comprised largely of volunteer American fighter pilots.

National WWI Museum and Memorial, Kansas City, Missouri.
National WWI Museum and Memorial, Kansas City, Missouri.
Graves in the Thiepval Anglo-French Cemetery, seen with the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, Thiepval, France.
Graves in the Thiepval Anglo-French Cemetery, seen with the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, Thiepval, France.

Poppies Field in Flanders
Poppies Field in Flanders.

Use this second player to stop the music (play then pause).

Contains affiliate links


The Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War I; Barbara W. Tuchman’s Great War Series (Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction Books)
In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world.

“A fine demonstration that with sufficient art rather specialized history can be raised to the level of literature.”—The New York Times.

“[The Guns of August] has a vitality that transcends its narrative virtues, which are considerable, and its feel for characterizations, which is excellent.”—The Wall Street Journal.

“More dramatic than fiction . . . a magnificent narrative—beautifully organized, elegantly phrased, skillfully paced and sustained.”—Chicago Tribune.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products or services that I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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