THE UK’s new military head rowed with an Armed Forces chief who later took his own life.
The UK’s new military head Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, above, rowed with an Armed Forces chief who later took his own life
Major General Matt Holmes was found dead in his home on SaturdayCredit: MoD
Major General Holmes, the top commander of the Royal Marines, was found dead in his home on Saturday, after losing his dream job and splitting from his wife Lea, of 19 years.
Friends of the decorated war hero said he felt “beaten down, not listened to, merely run over by someone with no military judgement”.
He had clashed with Adm Radakin, who was the then First Sea Lord, over plans to reform the Royal Marines.
Sir Tony was yesterday appointed Chief of the Defence Staff by Boris Johnson – the most senior role in the Armed Forces.
But now furious colleagues have leaked a slew of emails that reveal the fraught relationship he had with the late head of the Royal Marines.
Gen Holmes was removed from his dream job as Commandant General just 20 months in to a three-year post after a “serious falling out” with Adm Radakin.
He successfully fought off plans to give Royal Marines sailors’ ranks but lost a battle to give his job to a more senior officer.
A terse email exchange seen by The Sun reveals Major General Holmes was admonished by the then First Sea Lord for speaking out against the changes.
In the stinging rebuke Adm Radakin ordered him to respect his “authority” and to stop speaking to his counterparts in the US Marines and even to ministers.
Adm Radkin wrote that he was “sensitive” about any information about the planned reforms getting out, adding: “This is about my authority.”
And he said other officers had no right to “opine” and “the debate around this is to be toned down and ideally stopped”.
And then he directly ordered: “International engagement or engagement with retired officers Royal Marines by CGRM on this top is to stop.”
The order was later followed up by a subordinate who demanded Gen Holmes formally recognise the demand.
That email read: “First Sea Lord is very clear that he alone has the authority to lead on all subsequent engagements on this sensitive issue – including with ministers, international partners, senior retired officers and senior serving officers.”
A Naval Spokesperson said: “Our condolences, prayers and deepest sympathy are with Matt’s family. Their loss is the greatest and most painful: the entire naval service will be there for them now and always.”
They added: “We always have and always will place huge value on the distinct and world-renowned regimental ethos of the Royal Marines within the Royal Navy and wider UK Defence.”
A source said Adm Radakin was planning to attend the funeral in Winchester, next week.