In December 1942, Elmer went down to the recruitment office in Charlottetown to enlist in the navy. His first assignment was on board the corvette Alberni that sailed with convoys in the St. Lawrence River between July and November 1943. In January 1944 he took a two-month gunnery course and then joined the crew of the HMCS Port Colbourne. Before the war in Europe ended, he and his Summerside friend and navy man, Harry Dye, volunteered for the Pacific, which entitled them to extra leave. They were sent home for 120 days and were in Cornwallis in preparation for departure when world peace was declared.
His visits back to Summerside during the war period usually included a visit to the home of the Wyatt sisters on Spring Street. In April 1942, Wanda Wyatt, who kept a journal, recorded that Elmer was just back from a convoy and in November noted that he was home from New York with stories about all the places he had been. She described him on 12 April 1945 as "a bit tired and pale" but her diary entry on 3 May commented on his talk of service days. "He was full of the navy and what he had seen." Elmer remembers his trips back to Summerside by train from Halifax. He and his buddies would hang around the Olympia Restaurant and attend dances at the Maple Leaf. He recalls that it was common for the navy men to fight with the air force men who were frowned upon for "taking" the local women.
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