Former head of Royal Marines Major General Matthew Holmes took his own life, inquest hears

The former head of the Royal Marines Major General Matthew Holmes took his own life, a hearing to open the inquest into his death has heard.

Hampshire coroner Jason Pegg told the hearing in Winchester that Mr Holmes had “concerns about his marriage and his service career”.

Major General Holmes was found in a bedroom at his home in Winchester, Hampshire on 2 October, the inquest heard.

Police also attended an incident at his home address on September 22, Mr Pegg said.

He added: “It’s suspected that Matthew Holmes had a number of concerns at the time of his death including matters relating to his marriage and his service career.”

The coroner said that the 54-year-old’s body was formally identified by his wife, Lea.

Major General Holmes served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland for more than three decades in the armed forces.

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.

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

The father-of-two was also awarded a CBE in 2019 and has been described as “one of our most senior and highly decorated Royal Marines”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to Major General Holmes last week, saying on Twitter: “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, the current head of the Royal Marines, also paid tribute to his former colleague and friend.

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.”

The inquest was adjourned for a full hearing on 10 February 2022.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

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