The Mayor of Falmouth, Councillor Grenville Chappel, and Gerald Pitts, managing director of the A&P Group Defence division, were just two people who paid glowing tributes to retiring Royal Navy Commodore, Jamie Miller OBE, at a function held at the Greenbank Hotel.

Jamie, who until recently was Naval Regional Commander Wales and Western England is a charismatic, humorous, highly experienced naval officer and a true gentleman who is held in very high esteem in Falmouth and beyond.

Mr Pitts said: “It’s not very often you meet somebody like Commodore Miller, an interesting character with a highly decorated history that includes seeing action in the Falklands conflict where he survived the sinking of HMS Coventry.

“He has given such incredible service to the country which has been carried out with an inimitable sense of humour, becoming a great supporter of A&P Falmouth over the years and I feel very privileged to have been considered a personal friend.”

Mr Chappel said: “Jamie has always been very supportive towards our town and important events in the area such as the Tall Ships Races. He is a superb ambassador for the Royal Navy – a top man. The annual Sea Sunday Parade is a prime example of what Jamie has done for Falmouth as the parade goes from strength to strength each year.”

Jamie said: “Falmouth is an important port for the Royal Navy and RFA. It has been a real privilege to support and work with all elements of the town and port during my appointment. Falmouth is a beautiful town with a superb harbour. The council, A&P Group, your MP and the important dredging project must all be supported by the local community.”

Educated at Gordonstoun, Jamie Miller spent the majority of his career at sea, mostly in operational theatres. In the early days of his action packed career, he served in the destroyer HMS Cavalier, the frigate Mohawk and navigator of the minehunter HMS Bossington where he spent many months clearing bombs and mines from the Suez Canal after the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

Qualifying as a Spanish interpreter, he became Flag Lieutenant to the Commander in Chief Fleet. Later he was Navigator of the Air Defence destroyer HMS Sheffield and CO of the patrol boat HMS Kingfisher for Northern Ireland Operations. After qualifying as a principal Warfare Officer (Above Water) he took part in the 1982 Falklands conflict serving as an interpreter and officer of the watch.

During the Falklands war Jamie had just been promoted to Lieutenant. Commander on the destroyer HMS Coventry that was under the command of Captain David Hart-Dyke, father of the comedienne Miranda Hart. Argentine fighter-bombers attacked Coventry on May 25, 1982. The destroyer had already shot down three enemy planes that day. Then, at 18.15 more Argentine aircraft returned firing cannon, then the first of three 1,000lb bombs struck Coventry delivering a fatal blow.

With the ship listing heavily, on fire and with numerous explosions, the order was given to abandon ship. Jamie jumped overboard, managing to swim to a nearby life raft. With his vessel sinking fast the ship’s gun ripped off the life raft’s canopy and the Sea Dart missile punctured the raft as the ship heeled over. Jamie found himself underwater trapped by a rope around his leg. He has frequently said that his thoughts at the time were of his sweetheart Linda, whom he had just married.

Jamie eventually managed to free himself and clambered back aboard Coventry for another 15 minutes before jumping into the icy sea from where a helicopter picked him up. Nineteen sailors from the stricken ship were killed in the attack.

He returned to UK via a very fast passage in the Cunard Liner Queen Elizabeth 2. He then moved on to be Operations Officer of the frigate HMS Danae, deployed inevitably back to the South Atlantic.

From 1985 he was in charge of Officer of the Watch training at HMS Dryad until 1987 when he was appointed Second and First Lieutenant of HMY Britannia. That posting included a world circumnavigation for Her Majesty’s visit to Australia.

Promoted Commander in 1988, he assumed Command of the frigate HMS Avenger, deploying again to the Falklands, South America and the West Indies for counter drugs operations. In 1991 he was made responsible for warfare training at HMS Dryad School of Maritime Operations until 1993 when he became Executive Officer of the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal spending. During his time with her he served eight months in the Adriatic on Operation Hamden/Deny Flight for Bosnia Operations.

Promotion to captain took him to London as the Naval Assistant to the First Sea Lord.

Appointed in Command of the 4th Frigate Squadron in 1997, he brought HMS Marlborough out of refit, moving forward in 1998 to a Mediterranean deployment, including six months on Atlantic Patrol Task (North) duties engaged on a wide variety of defence diplomacy tasks and counter drugs operations throughout the Caribbean.

In July 1999 he became Deputy to the Royal Navy’s Sea Training Admiral, responsible for working up and inspecting ships, averaging 110 units a year from 17 different nations.

Promoted Commodore and Commander Amphibious Task Group in July 2001 he immediately led the group to the Gulf for Ex Saif Sareea II/Argonaut, off Oman

Appointed Aide de Camp to Her Majesty the Queen in November 2001, he then exercised command from both HMS Ark Royal and the Dutch amphibious ship HNLMS Rotterdam, controlling the RN’s Mediterranean deployment.

Between January and April 2003 he commanded, again from the Ark Royal, the Amphibious Task Group for OP TELIC, some 26 ships, 45 helicopters and 7,000 people. He executed the amphibious assault on the Al Faw peninsula off southern Iraq.

This subsequently led to him being awarded the Legion of Merit (Officer) by US President George Bush and the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service and being appointed to be a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He is a Younger Brother of Trinity House and President of the South Atlantic Medal Association 1982.

Jamie, who lives in Port Isaac, is married to Linda. The couple have four children, Poppy, Holly, Primrose and Barnaby – and, for the last four years, four boys who are in foster care living with them.