A Milton Damerel resident has been recognised for more than 40 years’ service in the Royal Navy. 

Lt Cdr John Binns has finally hung up his cap after serving  his country in the Royal Navy for 43 years. Following his retirement, he received a valedictory certificate on behalf of the King. 

The certificate and nautical themed gift were presented to him at HMS Vivid by Cdre Jo Adey at HM Naval Base Devonport.  

The gift, a piece of a ship which had been crafted into a bell, was produced by local company Beechwood Trinkets and the a bell pull crafted by Falklands Veteran Wilf Pickles.  

Lt Cdr Binns joined HMS Raleigh in 1980 aged only 16. As a weapons engineering mechanic, he soon found himself fusing 4.5 shells on his way to the Falklands conflict aboard HMS Diomede. He was awarded the South Atlantic medal without rosette after arriving in the exclusion zone slightly after the surrender.  

He was also aboard HMS Brilliant on patrol in the Arabian Gulf  when the ship’s helicopter crashed during a visit to Mombasa.  

The Lynx helicopter was heading for the airport where John’s wife, Anne, among others had flown out to meet their loved ones. While John was not on the helicopter, he still describes the day as being the lowest point of his career.  

Lt Cdr Binns’ deployments also took him to the West Coast of America when the HMS Diomede was the escort ship for the Royal Yacht Britannia on the Queen’s tour.  

After working his way up from Able Seamen to Chief Petty Officer, he passed the Admiralty Interview board and was commissioned at BRNC Dartmouth to embark on a career as an officer.  

The highlight of his career was serving as the weapons engineer officer in HMS Portland where he was able to revisit the Falkland Islands and share his time there with his wife and daughter.  

Having now hung up his hat, he plans to spend retirement keeping a small flock of sheep and getting to know Devon and Cornwall.