Some famous musicians of the First World War

Maurice Maréchal


Maurice Maréchal is a French cellist born in Dijon in 1892. Excellent musician, he won his first prize at the Paris Conservatory in 1911. In 1912 he performed his military service in the music of the 74th Infantry Regiment at Rouen during 2 years.


When war started he incorporated in the 274th Infantry Regiment where two friends’ carpenters carved him a rudimentary wooden cello with an ammunition box that they called "le poilu”. Maurice used it to play at religious services for officers; he became a cycling liaison officer in the 129th Infantry Regiment. Throughout the war Maurice Maréchal wrote his thoughts in small notebooks in which he wonders about his future as an artist.


He received the War Cross in 1916.


After the First WW he started an international solo career, alongside with the famous pianist Marguerite Long and violinist Jacques Thibaut.


Maurice and his cello (called "le poilu") were invited to play at the Division Headquarters many times; Marshal Joffre and Pétain, General Foch, Mangin and Gouraud signed it. 

Lucien Durosoir


Lucien Durosoir was born in Boulogne-sur-Seine in 1878; he started playing violin at 8 years old.

He studied at the Paris Conservatory where he was excluded for insubordination towards his Director. He continued his studies privately and also followed composing lessons. The 1st WW stopped his brilliant and virtuoso career in France and abroad.


He got engaged in the 74th Infantry Regiment and discovered dangerous sectors of the front: the Eparges, the Chemin des Dames, Verdun, etc.


As soon as the conflict began he wrote every day to his mother, informing her about his life in the trenches, the lack of food and poor quality, as well as the contempt of the officers.

He received sheet music and a mediocre violin in order to "delight" as he says. He will meet Maurice Maréchal, cellist, in 1916 and they will form with André Caplet and Henri Lemoine and a new quartet and play for the General Mangin.

A great Christmas concert was organized on December 30, 1917 in the Cathedral of Noyon.


He was demobilized in 1919, and in 1921, the Boston Symphony Orchestra offered him the concertmaster, but as his mother got ill he couldn’t travel.

He then settled in the Landes in 1926 and stopped his career as violinist and became composer. He leaves, from 1920 forty new works..

Edward B. Pennington


Edward B. Pennington (registration number 2337881) came from Cincinnati, Ohio.

He joined the army as a trumpeter (bugler) and is assigned to A Company, 4th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Division. He is digging a trench with his unit the night of July 14 to 15, 1918, when shelling enemies surprised him and his comrades. He was killed by one of the explosions.

He is now buried in the American cemetery Aisne-Marne Belleau in the block B, row 3, grave 50. His mother, Mary Jane Pennington visited the American cemetery in 1930 through the program in place at that time by the US Government called "Gold Star Mother Pilgrimage."

This program was designed to allow widows and mothers of American soldiers who fell during the First World War to go to the grave of their husband / son at the expense of the US Government.



Everett W. Leonard



Everett was born in Wareham, Massachusetts and then moved to the town of Dexter, Maine. He joined the US Army on April 2nd, 1917, the day of entry in war by the United States.

He was assigned to the Company of the 103rd Infantry Regiment of the 26th Division as a trumpet player. He was killed in action on July 13th, 1918.


He is now buried in the American cemetery Aisne-Marne of Belleau in position A, row 5, grave 3. His name is also written in the church of Belleau (rebuilt thanks to the 26th Division).