Ex Marines chief died by suicide after suffering ‘substantial stress’

The former head of the Royal Marines died by suicide after serving in the military for more than three decades.

The father-of-two had a distinguished career that saw him serve in Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland, eventually rising up the ranks to lead the Royal Marines.

An inquest into his death concluded that Major General Holmes experienced “substantial stress” having lost his position as leader of the Royal Marines in a management restructuring and as his marriage came to an end.

He was found dead at his home in Winchester, Hampshire, in October 2021.

Major General Holmes commanded 42 Commando Royal Marines from 2006 to 2008 before being appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order for his leadership during operations in Afghanistan in 2007.

He was Commandant General Royal Marines from 2019 to 2021 and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2019.

In 2019, he was also given a CBE having been branded “one of our most senior and highly decorated Royal Marines”.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paid tribute to Major General Matt Holmes, saying: “I am very saddened to learn of the death of Major General Matt Holmes. My thoughts are with Matt’s family and friends at this difficult time, as well as the Royal Marines and Royal Navy who I know will feel this loss keenly.”

Lieutenant General Rob Magowan, Deputy Commander Strategic Command and formerly head of the Royal Marines, has also praised his former colleague and sent a heartfelt message to his grieving family.

He said: “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.”

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