Susan Anne Raby-Dunne

Bonfire: The Chestnut Gentleman

“Bonfire,” is the powerful true story behind the beloved WWI poem, In Flanders Fields written by Lt.Col. John McCrae, and the reason we wear the red poppy to this day as an international symbol of Remembrance. Although fictionalized and told by McCrae's war horse, Bonfire, the story is closely based on the real history and events of the time. Bonfire was with John McCrae from the beginning of WWI at Camp Valcartier, Quebec, September 1914, to the end of McCrae's life in France in January of 1918. All of McCrae's letters and diaries from the war had mention of Bonfire, his antics and how much that horse meant to his master. Bonfire was McCrae's lifeline to decency, beauty and sanity during those traumatic days.

“Bonfire” injects new life and meaning into that indelible poem, In Flanders Fields.

“Bonfire” also shines a light on the service and sacrifice of animals during the Great War, particularly that of horses and dogs.

The book contains 24 fascinating archival photographs including one never before published of John McCrae, plus a stunning aerial photograph of "the position" McCrae and his artillery brigade were in during the battle in which In Flanders Fields was written. The latter was taken by German Baron von Kanne in April 1915 during the actual battle.
162 printed pages
Original publication


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