"We were fairly safe there underneath these abutments which they provided. One of the things that I did get to do up there was, across the canal which had a sort of bridge across, we were able to go to a railhead, an arrow gauge railhead which was approximately a quarter of a mile, where we found the United States Navy had brought up flat cars including a fourteen inch naval rifle which was then positioned there and firing on the hour, every hour. So on our 8 hours off we sometimes went over there, I did to watch them fire. This time I was standing fairly close to the gun, the loading end, the crew when they came out to load the gun, I watched that. When they were nearly ready to fire, as they started to elevate the gun from horizontal to very nearly ninety degrees, and then when they’re ready to fire this chap called out to me, if you don’t want to lose your eardrums you better plug your ears and stand on your tiptoes, this is going to jar you. With that they touched off the gun and I quickly did as told and the ground shook under me, I danced on my toes. I’m telling you something a discharge of a fourteen inch Navy gun was some kind of an experience, that close. That was the first and the only time I went through it, but I told some of my buddies about it and sent them over there to do it. Actually, when that shell which was propelled by several large bags of powder, two or three feet long, went into the air as sort of an express train. You could hear that shell traveling through the atmosphere like a rumble. Not exactly a whistle but it was a distinct sound and you could follow that for minutes after that shell left the gun; a long time you could hear that shell traveling. It was quite an experience to hear that.They were firing on Metz the famous German stronghold every hour. This went on day in and day out. Of course when that gun was not firing it was lowered to the horizontal, camouflaged and the entire train was camouflaged. The gun and the accompanying supply cars and personnel cars. They were all camouflaged so the Germans never did find out where they were. That was an experience that I never forgot."
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