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A determined composer

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Despite rejection, by sheer determination, he was hired as a military truck driver in 1916 and sent to Verdun.
Maurice Ravel

Considered too small and too light, the composer Maurice Ravel was exempted from military service and therefore could not enlist as an aviator during the Great War. However, his friendship with Paul Painlevé, Minister of War, helped him to still be a part of the war effort. Jean Echenoz tells us in his work Ravel “By sheer determination; he was hired as a military truck driver in 1916 and sent to Verdun”. In the letters he wrote to his parents, ‘Chauffeur Ravel’ (that’s how he called himself) tells of the adventures he endured with his truck ‘Adélaïde.’ This period did not last as the musician fell ill in September 1916 and had to return to Paris. Ravel was later distinguished for his refusal to accept the ban on the broadcasting of German works. His internationalist views would remain throughout his life.

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