A message from Admiral Sir Tony Radakin KCB ADC First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff

Dear Royal Marines, 

I wanted to reach out to the whole Corps at what is an extraordinarily sad time for the entire Royal Marines’ family. The devastating news of the death of Major General Matt Holmes has shocked us all. A talismanic commander, he will be remembered for his unswerving leadership and endless compassion for his people. In writing to you, I wanted to express my profound sadness, to acknowledge the shock and grief I know many are experiencing, and to highlight the support available to the wider naval family for those who knew General Matt or have been affected by this, for those still in uniform and also the broader veteran community. 

General Matt served the Corps with distinction for thirty three years. He will be especially remembered for his gallant, inspirational leadership of 42 Commando during a challenging tour on Operation HERRICK V and, more recently, for his tireless and passionate leadership of the whole Corps as CGRM. For those who knew him well, or knew him by reputation, General Matt was a massive personality who lived and breathed the Corps – from batch mates, to those he took through recruit training, to those he led on operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the last few days tributes have poured in, recalling a dynamo of a man, citing the positive impact he had, and remembering an officer who cared deeply about those he was privileged to lead. As he reached more senior positions, his focus and commitment benefited the Corps immensely; he played an integral part in driving forward the Future Commando Force concept and he was proud of the Royal Marines returning to its Commando roots. 

As we mourn his death and honour his memory, we also need to look after Matt’s family, and each other. These are my overriding priorities for all of us and especially those in leadership positions. This news will have reverberations across the whole organisation. I am in touch with Matt’s family and in lockstep with Lieutenant General Rob Magowan to make sure no stone is left unturned in our efforts to support all those affected. I know the bootneck net kicked in rapidly as news spread and we need to harness that to reach out and look after each other. Support is available from the whole of the Royal Navy and our charities for those who are feeling the pressure. We can also help each other, and we must do so. If you know of others who are struggling, pick up the phone, check in, and as General Matt would have done, look after your oppos. My thoughts are with you all and especially General Matt’s family during this awful time. 

Per Mare, Per Terram 

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin KCB ADC
First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff