THE devastated wife of a former Royal Marines top commander has spoken of his “personal struggles” ahead of an inquest into his death.
Major General Matt Holmes, 54, took his own life after he was removed from his role in April 2021.
He was just 20 months into what was supposed to be a three-year stint as Commandant General of the Royal Marines.
The dad-of-two told pals he felt betrayed by the Navy after he clashed with the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.
An inquest is due to begin today at Winchester Crown Court into General Holmes’ death in October 2021.
Speaking ahead of the hearing, his estranged wife Lea Holmes paid tribute to the “kid and generous man”.
She told how General Holmes was “exceptionally proud” to have served the role in the Marines and was awarded with a DSO and CBE for his work.
Lea added: “This is another very difficult day for us. Over the last 18 months we have had to learn how to navigate the next steps of our lives without Matt.
“There will be discussions about the reasons for what happened, including speculation, because of the very nature of Matt’s death.
“At the end of his life, Matt was coming to terms with the end of this stage of his career and facing personal struggles.”
She said her husband had “committed his life to serving in the Royal Marines” and took “immense responsibility” for his fellow troops.
Lea told how “not a day would go by without him thinking of the men under his Command who were lost or injured” and their families.
She also thanked those who have sent their condolences to her and the couple’s two children.
The mum added: “Alongside the demands of his career, Matt was a loving father who adored his children and would have hugely admired their resilience over the last 18 months.”
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
General Holmes had watched his marriage collapse after being sidelined from his “dream job”.
The Sun revealed how he had successfully resisted plans to give Royal Marines sailors’ ranks.
But he was slapped down by the Navy’s top brass for resisting plans to give his job to a “double-hatted” senior officer.
A source said he had a “serious falling out” with the First Sea Lord and his career never recovered.
General Holmes, who carried Prince Philip’s coffin at his funeral, was transferred to a role in charge of MoD equipment.
The decorated war hero – a pal of Prince Harry’s – was due to retire in October before he was found hanged.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.