The year 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the poem In Flanders Fields, which was written by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae amid the horrors of the Second Battle of Ypres in May 1915. Through his hauntingly poignant poem, McCrae succeeded in giving a voice to the 60,000 Canadians who would lose their lives in the First World War, and ignited an international effort to keep their legacy alive. To mark this anniversary, this fine silver coin is a solemn remembrance of those who bravely served their country abroad in a time of war–lest we forget.
The reverse image by Canadian artist Laurie McGaw offers a beautifully detailed and engraved side-profile portrait of Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae as he composes his famous poem, In Flanders Fields. There, on the battlefields near the Belgian town of Ypres, a uniformed McCrae is seated with pen and paper in hand, using his elevated thigh as a writing surface. He appears deep in thought and fixed upon the task at hand; in the background to the right of McCrae, an ambulance truck is parked before a field tent – a reminder of McCrae’s medical role with the Canadian brigade during the First World War. A more haunting sight to the left and behind McCrae is the landscape covered with makeshift graves for the fallen soldiers; this, together with the showy poppies that can be seen along the left edge of the image field, inspired the lines “In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow/ Between the crosses, row on row,/ That mark our place…” Also engraved along the edge of the image field is the word “CANADA,” the commemorative dates “1915-2015” to mark the poem’s centennial, the face value “3 DOLLARS” and the poem’s English and French title in McCrae’s recreated handwriting. The obverse features the effigy of King George V by Sir Edward B. MacKennal, as used on Canadian coins in the First World War period.
A striking collectible for commemorators, and a prestigious addition to any Canadian military- or history-themed collection.