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2014-04-30 at NOON

Lost years

By Jamie Smith,
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Sometimes when Elmer Auld sees young people he can't help but think of what he calls his wasted years.

Late teens and early 20s are supposed to be a time to live, but for Auld and his shipmates it was spent trying to survive the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War.

From 17 until he was 21 Auld was on mine sweepers and corvettes, part of a lifeline of supplies to Europe that German U-boats were desperate to cut, in what would become the longest campaign of the war.

Now almost 90, Auld is quick with a joke, a smile and a firm handshake. But he still remembers all that was lost in his youth.

"I can still see some of my fiends in the water. We went through hell years ago," he said standing in front of the Anchorage at the waterfront.

"We called it the wasted years. The ones that are left, we're still lucky to enjoy what we have."

It's the reason every first Sunday in May people across the country commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic to honour veterans like Auld and all those who never returned.

Weather has forced the local ceremony inside this year to HMCS Griffon. Organizer Rob Cutbush said the decision was made after taking a look at the soggy conditions around the Anchorage.

"We need to look out for the welfare of the participants," he said.

Regardless of where its held, Cutbush said what's important is that people gather to honour Auld's generation that gave up their youth.

"We have to remember the sacrifices of those gentlemen," he said.

The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. Cutbush is expecting up to 750 people to attend.


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We've improved our comment system.
NowayJose says:
I could type compliments, for our war veterans until my thumbs bleed.
I prefer a heartfelt thanks to you, Elmer Auld, for your service. You are a great man!
Take care and all the best!
4/30/2014 3:34:01 PM
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