UNITED KINGDOM’s new military chief rowed with an armed force commander who later took his own life.
New Force Commander Admiral Sir Tony Radakin ordered Major General Matt Holmes to respect his “authority” and stop talking to colleagues and allies about controversial reforms of the Navy.
Major General Holmes, commander-in-chief of the Royal Marines, was found dead in his home on Saturday after losing his dream job and splitting with his 19-year-old wife Lea.
Friends of the decorated war hero said he felt “beaten down, not listened to, just run over by someone without a military verdict”.
He had clashed with Adm Radakin, then the first naval lord, over plans to reform the Royal Marines.
Sir Tony was yesterday appointed Chief of Defense Staff by Boris Johnson – the top role in the armed forces.
But now furious colleagues have leaked a lot of emails revealing the horrific relationship he had with the late chief of the Royal Marines.
Gen Holmes was removed from his dream job as Commander-in-Chief only 20 months into a three-year position after a “serious fall out” with Adm Radakin.
He successfully fought the plans to give Royal Marine sailors ranks, but lost a battle to give his job to a more senior officer.
A tight email exchange seen by The Sun reveals that Major General Holmes was admonished by the then First Sea Lord for speaking out against the changes.
In the stinging reprimand, Adm Radakin ordered him to respect his “authority” and stop talking to his colleagues in the U.S. Marines and even to ministers.
Adm Radkin wrote that he was “sensitive” to any information about the planned reforms that came out, adding: “This is about my authority.”
And he said other officers had no right to “think” and “the debate over this should be toned down and ideally stopped”.
And then he directly ordered: “International engagement or engagement with retired officers of the Royal Marines of the CGRM at this summit must stop.”
The order was later followed up by a subordinate who demanded that General Holmes formally acknowledge the claim.
The email read: “First Sea Lord is well aware that he alone has the authority to lead in all subsequent engagements on this sensitive issue – including with ministers, international partners, senior retired officers and senior officials.”
A spokesman for the Navy said: “Our condolences, prayers and deepest sympathy are with Matt’s family. Their loss is the biggest and most painful: the entire maritime service will be there for them now and always. ”
They added: “We have always and will always place great value on the Royal Navy’s distinct and world-renowned regimentos within the Royal Navy and wider British defense.”
A source said Adm Radakin planned to attend the funeral in Winchester next week.