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A Canadian businessman interceded at an auction so that Canada could keep the World War I medals of the Canadian soldier who wrote the poem "In Flanders Fields."

The Canadian Press news agency reported that the medals of Lt. Col. John McCrae, a doctor who wrote the poignant poem after watching another soldier die in Belgium, were sold Saturday for almost $300,000 to Arthur Lee, a clothing manufacturer from Toronto.

Lee said he would donate the medals to the McCrae House Museum in Guelph, Ont., birthplace of the poet, which had to drop out of bidding at $200,000.

"I (didn't) want the medals to fall into foreign hands. I'm a Canadian citizen, and I want to keep them in Canada," the agency quoted Lee as saying.

The poem is arguably Canada's most famous, and the pending sale -- caused when a dealer realized that medals for which he had paid $105 belonged to the poet-soldier -- had brought threats from the government that it would not allow them to leave Canada.

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