Royal Marines

Major General Matthew Holmes: Former Royal Marines Chief Dies, Aged 54

The previous head of the Royal Marines has died and the circumstances of his death are being investigated, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has said.

Major General Matthew Holmes, who was Commandant General of the Royal Marines between 2019 and April this year, died on Saturday, aged 54. 

First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, described Maj Gen Holmes as a "dear friend to many, and a close friend of mine for over 20 years".

"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."

Maj Gen Holmes had a distinguished career that included operational tours in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

He 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. 

In 2019 he was appointed Commandant General of the Royal Marines and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Lieutenant General Rob Magowan, who succeeded Maj Gen Holmes as Commandant General of the Royal Marines earlier this year, said his predecessor and friend had "tragically died at the weekend".

"My heart goes out to him and his family. We will honour him and all those closest to him. 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."

The Ministry of Defence said its thoughts, sympathies and deepest condolences are with Maj Gen Holmes' family and friends at this time. 

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