UK

Maj Gen Matt Holmes: Military chiefs among hundreds of mourners at funeral

More than 700 people were in Winchester for the funeral of the former head of the Royal Marines.

More than 700 mourners, including the Defence Secretary and senior military officers, have attended the funeral of the former head of the Royal Marines.

Major General Matthew Holmes, who was a pall-bearer at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral in April, was found dead at his home in Winchester, Hampshire, on 2 October.

Maj Gen Holmes, 54, who had served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, was Commandant General Royal Marines from 2019 until April this year.

As well as his family, also present as Winchester Cathedral were Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, the outgoing Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter, and his replacement, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.

A line of marines paraded on the approach to the cathedral while the coffin arrived by hearse.

The coffin, draped in the Union Flag with Maj Gen Holmes's cap and a wreath of white roses on top, was carried into the cathedral by the same pallbearers who joined Maj Gen Holmes at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.

Royal Marines attended the funeral, which was led by Dean of Winchester Catherine Ogle, including 42 Commando, to which Maj Gen Holmes belonged, with music provided by the Royal Marines Band Service.

Major General Matt Holmes, Commandant General 20192021 04102021 Credit Royal Marines Twitter.jpeg
Major General Matt Holmes served for more than three decades in the UK military (Picture: Royal Marines).

A crowd of mourners gathered in the grounds alongside standard bearers from the Royal Marines Association and the US Marine Corps.

Following the service, which concluded with the Last Post and the national anthem, a volley of three shots was fired by 12 recently passed-out marines from the Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, Devon.

Maj Gen Holmes's widow released a statement paying tribute to him.

She said: "My husband Matt was a kind, generous man.

"He was courageous and had committed his life to serving in the Royal Marines; he was selfless to such an extent that this was more important than his own career progression."