Tue. May 17th, 2022

Word war rages over dead ex-chief of Navy demands new chief of the armed forces as the family says naval chiefs ‘passed the money’ on his mental health

  • Major General Matt Holmes was found dead at his home in Winchester last week
  • Relatives are angry at officials who ‘passed the money’ on his mental health
  • Dad, 54, said he was struggling to cope with Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan
  • His family feel Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, who played ‘a significant role in the unrest’
  • For confidential support, call Samaritans on 116 123 or go to www.samaritans.org


A war of words raged yesterday over Navy top brass mudslinging around the death of the ex-commander of the Royal Marines.

Relatives of Major General Matt Holmes, 54, have been angry at naval officers who ran to ‘settle scores and give the money’ over his mental health, a friend said.

Major General Holmes was found dead at his family home in Winchester, Hampshire, on Saturday.

The father of two had told colleagues he was struggling to cope with Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying he felt ‘beaten down’ and ‘limited’ in his role.

Relatives of Major General Matt Holmes, who was found dead in his home last week, 54, are angry at naval authorities who ran to 'settle scores and give the money' over his mental health

Relatives of Major General Matt Holmes, who was found dead in his home last week, 54, are angry at naval authorities who ran to ‘settle scores and give the money’ over his mental health

His family feels that the commander of the armed forces, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, played a significant role in the unrest the veteran faced.

But friends of Sir Tony – named chief of defense staff on Thursday – denied that he had undermined the chief officer.

A source close to Sir Tony said he and his wife Louise had been friends with Holmeses for more than 20 years and were devastated by his death, claiming that conflict with Sir Tony contributed to the decline in his mental health.

They said critics would be left with ‘red faces’ when the truth emerged, blaming ‘people with agendas’ for the mudslinging.

Major General Holmes was divorced from his wife Lea and lost his job as Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Marines.

He wrote to a friend: ‘I do not trust Radakin. It’s been awful. Terrible. You should see the tone in some of the emails I’ve had from Radakin. Basically, he imposes his authority and keeps me limited. ‘

He said he was fighting to cope with Britain's withdrawal from Afghanistan.  His family feels the leader of the Armed Forces Admiral Sir Tony Radakin (pictured) played a 'role in the unrest' he faced

He said he was fighting to cope with Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. His family feels the leader of the Armed Forces Admiral Sir Tony Radakin (pictured) played a ‘role in the unrest’ he faced

He and Sir Tony, 55, had been close friends but fell out over changes in the Navy. This led to Major General Holmes leaving his post in April, halfway through his three-year role.

A friend of the Holmes family said Sir Tony and his deputy, Vice Admiral Nicholas Hine, had played a role in Major General Holmes’ decision to leave his job.

The friend said: ‘The poor family has not even had time to bury him and certain naval factions are already trying to settle scores and pass the money. It’s so unworthy, unfair. In the end … the truth will come out.

‘A study is the right forum where one can consider all the pressure affecting Matt. Not the public court of opinion. ‘

The relationship between the two is said to have stalled after arguments over Major General Holmes’ post.

A document distributed to senior officers said the Afghanistan veteran, who was awarded a Distinguished Service Order, ‘was preparing for a more limited role’.

In it, Sir Tony said: ‘It is about my authority. International commitment from CGRM [Holmes] is to stop. ‘But a source said the breach in their friendship had begun to heal.

For confidential support, call Samaritans toll free on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org

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