Ken Atkinson finds it tough to speak about his time during the war, even 77 years later.

"It's pretty hard to get people to realize what it was all about," he says. "Let's face it, war is stupid. The real life was horrific."

The 95-year-old Barrie resident was an air gunner in 1942 during the Second World War for the Royal Air Force (RAF).

He joined the Air Training Corp at just 15.

Ken Atkinson

The following year, he was a part of the Home Guard, and at 17 his mother reluctantly signed him up for the RAF where he joined a bomber crew.

Ken Atkinson

"[Those] seven people around you, really you feel closer than a family because your life depended on these people."

Atkinson says he was reminded of just how fragile life was every time he returned to the barracks.

"In that room is a lot of empty beds," he reflects. "And that man you knew a few hours ago, he's not there. And sometimes half the room was empty."

He says he's proud to represent the veterans on Remembrance Day.

"There's not that many left now."