Major General Matthew Holmes, Navy who led a daring assault on Afghanistan but resigned as commanding general of the Royal Marines after resisting plan to double his role – obituary


Appointed Commanding General of the Royal Marines that year, Holmes began to develop a new coastal strike concept for the Future Commando Force, working closely with the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin. In March 2020, he hosted Prince Harry, in his then capacity as Captain General of the Royal Marines, and Meghan Markle, at the Royal Albert Hall for the Mountbatten Festival of Music, hosting the Prince for what would be one of his last. public commitments. in Great Britain.

Meanwhile, Radakin and Holmes, who had known each other for 20 years, clashed: Holmes’ approach was characterized by his usual tenacity and attention to detail, while Radakin wanted a much closer integration of the Royal Navy and of the Royal Marines, as indicated. by wearing the White Ensign on updated uniforms and even the adoption by officers of the Royal Navy of the ranks of the Navy.

The last straw came when Radakin offered to “kick the CGRM upstairs,” as one observer commented, dubbing him with another role in the Defense Ministry, the separating from close daily involvement with the Marines and risking the maintenance of important links with the Marines. the United States Marine Corps.

Holmes became concerned that his body’s profile would be reduced just when he needed to see through his vision for the future, and the day-to-day management of the Royal Marines would be relegated to a less senior officer.

As the Daily Telegraph reported in March of this year, Holmes “resisted vigorously” which led to a “significant argument” between him and Radakin. In April, Holmes was replaced after just 20 months as CGRM, instead of serving the usual three-year term.

Matt Holmes was mentally and physically energetic, could be fiery, was much tougher than his short stature (5’2 “) suggested, and was rather more serious than his contemporaries; he was highly regarded and admired by his Marines, and was not averse to a good shore run or a mess party.

He married, in 2002, Lea Brocklebank, a notary, who survives him with their two children.

Major-General Matthew Holmes, born June 29, 1967, died October 2, 2021

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