Geordie Elms was born in Toronto. In 1967, he followed his grandfather and father into the ranks of the 48th Highlanders of Canada as a piper. As a Highlander in 1972, he was commissioned under the Reserve Officer University Training Plan (ROUTP). In 1974, he transferred to the Regular Force, joining the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR), and went on to Regimental duty in Petawawa, Germany, Winnipeg, and Gagetown. He also served on operations/peacekeeping duties in Cyprus (1976-77), Lebanon and Israel (1983-85), Afghanistan and Pakistan (1988-89), and Bosnia (1992-93). In 2000, he was appointed Commanding Officer of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada. He was commanding when Her Majesty The Queen presented new Colours to the Regiment in 2002 at Copps Coliseum, Hamilton.

In 2003, Colonel Elms was posted as Canadian Defence Advisor (Attaché) to the Canadian High Commission in Pakistan and cross-accredited as Canadian Defence Attaché to Afghanistan. In 2006, he was selected to open the Canadian Defence Attaché Office in Kabul, Afghanistan. His final Regular Force appointment was as Canadian Defence Attaché to Israel (2008-10). Colonel Elms was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for service in Southwest Asia (2008) and Chief of Defence Staff Commendations for meritorious service in Beirut (1985) and during the Pakistan Earthquake (2005).

In December 2010, after 43 years in uniform, Colonel Elms retired and returned home to Canada, where he and his wife, Shirley, divide their time between their home in Dundas and their cottage in Haliburton. He operates SAGE Canada – a private security consultancy specializing in cross-cultural intelligence. He also serves as the Honorary Colonel of the 48th Highlanders of Canada.