The former head of the Royal Marines died as a result of hanging after having 'concerns about his marriage and service career ', a hearing to open the inquest into his death was told today.

Maj Gen Matthew Holmes, 54, who served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, was Commandant General Royal Marines from 2019 until April.

Major General Matthew Holmes was found dead in a bedroom at his home in Winchester, Hampshire, on October 2, Hampshire coroner Jason Pegg said.

Today's short hearing in Winchester heard that police had attended an incident at the family home on September 22.

Hampshire coroner Jason Pegg told an inquest hearing in Winchester : "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."

mr pegg said maj gen holmes' body was formally identified by his wife, lea.

Maj Gen Holmes 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 '.

maj gen holmes's funeral is due to take place in winchester cathedral on 13 october.

The inquest was adjourned for a full hearing on February 10, 2022.

He had told colleagues he was struggling to cope with Britain's withdrawal from Afghanistan, and said he felt 'beaten down' and 'constrained' in his role.

Major General Matthew Holmes was a pallbearer at Prince Philip's funeral during the procession to the steps of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in April. He is pictured speaking to Sky News before the service

His family feels the head of the Armed Forces, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, played' a significant part in the turmoil' the veteran faced.

but friends of sir tony, named chief of defence staff on thursday, denied he undermined him.

They said critics would be left with 'red faces' when the truth emerged, and blamed 'people with agendas' for the mudslinging.

It led to Major General Holmes leaving his post in April, halfway through his three-year role.

Major General Matthew Holmes had ‘concerns about his marriage and service career’ (Picture: MoD)

Sir Tony and Major General Holmes were previously close friends, but fell out bitterly over changes to the Marines this year.

The Daily Mail reported last week that Sir Tony undermined Major General Holmes, according to messages from the officer.

But he was well-liked by Marines and enjoyed their company.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123, visit a local branch or go to

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

commandant general royal marines lieutenant general rob magowan said of his predecessor : "we are one family, together, just as we learned, and as we trained, alongside each other at the commando training centre.

Once a marine, always a marine."

Maj Gen Holmes's death came six months after he left his role as Commandant General half-way through what is usually a three-year position.

First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said he was a "devoted former Commandant General who had served the nation, the Royal Navy and his beloved Corps with distinction".

Major General Matthew Holmes, who has died, won the Distinguished Service Order for his leadership on the frontline in Afghanistan. He is pictured with his wife Lea and daughter Eleanor after receiving the award  at Buckingham Palace in 2007

He said : "Matt was also a dear friend to many, and a close friend of mine for over 20 years, offering his "deepest sympathy" to his family.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK ( 8255 ).

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