Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death 

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

Armed police seized a shotgun from the family home of a Royal Marines general just days before he was found hanged.

A response team recovered the weapon on September 22 after a relative raised concerns for Major General Matthew Holmes’ welfare.

Tragically, officers returned to the property on October 2, hours after the 54-year-old former Commandant General was found dead.

The recovery of the weapon so near to his death should have been a ‘red flag’ and triggered an intervention by mental health experts, it was claimed last night.

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

Armed police seized a shotgun from the family home of Major General Matthew Holmes in September – just days before he was found hanged

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

Tragically, officers returned to the property on October 2, hours after the 54-year-old former Commandant General was found dead

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

Veterans gather behind a detachment of Royal Marines outside Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire for the funeral of Major General Matthew Holmes

In the last months of his life Maj Gen Holmes felt undermined by the head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, 55, who has been appointed to lead the UK’s Armed Forces.

Sir Tony joined mourners at his funeral in Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and the outgoing Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter also attended the service.

Maj Gen Holmes’ widow Lea Holmes was accompanied by their children Eleanor, 15 and William, 11. They held hands as they walked into the cathedral.

The funeral was attended by more than 700 mourners and members of the public gathered outside to pay their respects.

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

Today leading members of the armed forces joined mourners at his funeral in Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire. Pictured: Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace (2nd left), General Sir Nick Carter, the outgoing Chief of the Defence Staff (centre) and First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin (2nd right)

Every unit of the Royal Marines was represented, as was the United States Marine Corps. The Royal Marines band played before the coffin was driven to the cathedral, awaited by Dean of Winchester Catherine Ogle, who led the service.

The coffin was carried by pallbearers who all had a close connection to Maj Gen Holmes.

He had the same duty at the funeral of Prince Philip, the Corps’ honorary Captain General for several decades, at Windsor Castle in April.

Sir Tony had slapped a gagging order on Maj Gen Holmes when he challenged his plans to modernise the Royal Marines, it emerged last week.

Maj Gen Holmes then told friends: ‘I don’t trust Radakin. He doesn’t get the Corps. You should see the emails from Radakin, imposing his authority and keeping me constrained. I feel beaten down, not listened to, merely run over by someone with no military judgment. It’s been awful. Awful.’

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

The coffin of Major General Matthew Holmes, former head of the Royal Marines, is carried out of Winchester Cathedral following his funeral service

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

Major General Matthew Holmes receives the Distinguished Service Order from the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2007

The seized shotgun is understood to have been licensed to the Major General. The police visit emerged at a pre-inquest hearing this week.

The court heard he killed himself over concerns about his career and marriage. Hampshire Police confirmed the firearm’s recovery. No arrests were made and Maj Gen Holmes had not threatened anyone else.

The highly decorated officer is also said to have behaved erratically at a formal dinner at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines at Lympstone, Devon.

Philip Ingram, an intelligence specialist and defence welfare campaigner, said: ‘While you cannot order someone to seek help you can put a protective bubble around them. He had been displaying cries for help for some time.

‘The coming together of his professional and personal woes was a perfect storm and should have been obvious to his chain of command.’

But retired Rear Admiral Chris Parry last night insisted everything had been done to protect the officer. He said: ‘My understanding is that the whole top echelon of the Royal Navy, especially the First Sea Lord [Sir Tony], the Commandant General [Lt Gen Rob Magowan] and [Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd] were in close and frequent personal contact with him during his final week to encourage and support him.’

Last night, the Royal Navy said: ‘Our condolences, prayers and deepest sympathy are with Matt’s family. Their loss is the greatest and most painful: the entire naval service will be there for them now and always.’

A full hearing will take place on February 10.

For confidential support, call Samaritans on 116 123 or go to www.samaritans.org

New head of the Royal Marines warns death of leading general could ‘drive a wedge’ between the Royal Navy and elite troops 

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

Lieutenant General Rob Magowan (above) warned senior colleagues the death of his predecessor is ‘driving a wedge’ between the Royal Navy and its fighting troops

By Jacob Thorburn for MailOnline

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

The new head of the Royal Marines has written to senior colleagues warning that the death of his predecessor is ‘driving a wedge’ between the Royal Navy and its fighting troops.

An inquest heard yesterday that Major General Matthew Holmes was found hanged at his home in Winchester, Hampshire, on October 2 after having ‘concerns’ about his career and his marriage.

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.

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.

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’.

It comes after a war of words raged over Navy top brass mudslinging surrounding his death, with relatives said to have been angered by naval officials who raced to ‘settle scores and pass the buck’ over his mental health.

The funeral for the 54-year-old is being held today at Winchester Cathedral. It will be attended by his widow, Lea, and a gathering of 600 people, including senior naval officers.

In a letter first reported in the Daily Telegraph, Lieutenant General Rob Magowan, Commandant General Royal Marines (CGRM), wrote that Maj Gen Holmes, who was a pall-bearer at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, was in a ‘bad place’ following the loss of his ‘dream job’.

Referring to the colours of the shirts worn by the Navy and the Marines, Lt Gen Magowan said: ‘The ‘dispute’ is serving to drive a wedge between white shirts and lovat, which helps nobody.

‘It is making my job harder as CGRM. I’ll manage that but it is also impacting the serving Corps, just as we mature an integrated relationship across the Navy in pursuit of the Future Commando Force.’

He added: ‘The focus this coming week is to celebrate Matt’s amazing career, and to support his family. Anything else is a straight distraction. So I am asking all of us to work together, for Matt, his family and the Corps.’

It is understood that disputes with the Senior Service occurred between October last year and February while the organisation went through a management restructure which lead to Maj Gen Holmes being superseded.

A naval source said: ‘The CGRM wrote to say that changes were made for the greater good of the naval service and we must all get behind them to ensure the naval service continues to provide a fantastic service to the country.’

A Royal Navy spokesman said the service would not comment on the letter and said it was focusing on providing support to Maj Gen Holmes’ family at the time of his funeral.

Following his death, Maj Gen Holmes’ widow released a statement paying tribute to him.

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

, Police seized shotgun from Marines chief days before death , The Today News USA

Major General Matthew Holmes welcomes Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to the Royal Albert Hall in London in March 2020

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.

‘He was exceptionally proud to have served as Commandant General. His entire family and I have felt very privileged to play our part in supporting Matt and the Corps family throughout his career.

‘Matt took the immense responsibility for the lives of those he served alongside very seriously; not a day would go by without him thinking of the men under his command who were lost or injured; and of course, their families.

‘Matt was a proud and loving father to his two children: his son a former cathedral chorister and his daughter a talented violinist.

‘Matt was a keen drummer and we had many happy times as a family enjoying the music and camaraderie of the Royal Marines Band Service.

‘At the same time Matt recognised their vital role supporting operations within the Royal Navy.

‘For me as Matt’s wife, it has been a privilege over many years to receive the support, camaraderie and friendship from the Royal Marines and Royal Navy family.

‘I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those friends and colleagues who have taken the time to pay tribute to Matt, it will bring comfort to all our family to know how respected he was.’

Opening the inquest into Maj Gen Holmes’ death, Hampshire coroner Jason Pegg said: ‘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.’

He added: ‘I direct the Royal Navy provides a statement setting out very briefly Matthew Holmes’ career and his career management post-supersession from his post as Commandant General Royal Marines and the known response to that from Maj Gen Matthew Holmes.’

The inquest, which also heard that police were called to the family home before Maj Gen Holmes’ death, was adjourned for a full hearing on February 10 2022. 

 

<!—->
Advertisement