Post by Louis Epstein
His cause of death is under investigation.
Former head of the Royal Marines found dead aged 54
Major General Matthew Holmes was described by his peers as a great leader and a ‘dear friend to many’
POLITICAL AND DEFENCE CORRESPONDENT
3 October 2021 • 9:30pm
The former head of the Royal Marines has been found dead as Royal Navy chiefs paid tribute to one of the “most senior and highly decorated Royal Marines”.
On Sunday night it was confirmed that Major General Matthew Holmes, who stood down as Commandant General Royal Marines in April, died on October 2.
Maj Gen Holmes, who commanded 42 Commando Royal Marines from 2006 to 2008 and was appointed as a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order for his leadership on operations in Afghanistan in 2007, was hailed by the First Sea Lord as a “dear friend to many”.
Admiral Sir Tony Radakin added that Maj Gen Holmes had been a personal close friend of his for over 20 years and that he had served the nation “and his beloved Corps with distinction for 33 years”.
He said: “He will be sorely missed by the Service and especially the Corps Family. But my thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy are with Matt’s family. Their loss is the greatest and most painful: we will be there for them now and always.”
‘Once a marine, always a marine’
The Ministry of Defence said that while the circumstances of Maj Gen Holmes’ death were being investigated it would be inappropriate to comment further, however it is understood that he took his own life.
The MoD said its “thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends at this difficult time and they have our deepest and heartfelt condolences”.
Commandant General Royal Marines, Lieutenant General Rob Magowan, said his heart went out to his predecessor and his family. “We will honour him and all those closest to him,” he said.
“But I also think of you all. It matters not that he was a General, but it does that he is a Royal Marine. I remember and celebrate him, alongside all those who he is with now. We are one family, together, just as we learned, and as we trained, alongside each other at the Commando Training Centre. Once a marine, always a marine.”
Earlier this year The Telegraph reported that Maj Gen Holmes resisted the move to ‘double-hat’ the role of Commandant General Royal Marines – a two-star post – with another role.
Critics feared the lack of one senior person focused solely on the future direction and professional development of the Royal Marines would be detrimental to the Corps.
However, the First Sea Lord insisted on the change, arguing that the incumbent in future would be a three-star officer and thus able to influence Defence debate to the advantage of the Royal Marines.
At the time of the row, a defence source told the Telegraph Maj Gen Holmes’s scheduled move in April was part of the transformation of the service. He moved on 20 months into what is normally a three-year tenure.
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