John McCrae had a remarkable affinity for people and animals. His many friends and colleagues described him as warm and compassionate with very high principles.
In 1914 John McCrae was 42 years old and older than most WWI volunteers when he enlisted. In a letter to his mother McCrae wrote, “I am really rather afraid, but more afraid to stay at home with my conscience.”
In 1915 he was given the rank of Major and appointed brigade-surgeon to the First Brigade of the Canadian Forces Artillery stationed at Ypres, Belgium.