Saturday, 24 February 2018
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.

     |      View our Twitter page at     |     


Dr Jeffrey Bradford, Director of Research, U K Defence Forum:

Others are better equipped to comment on the contributions Richard Holmes CBE madein the fields of the armed services, publishing and television. Speaking from
personal experience I met Richard Holmes when on an induction tour as I embarked onmy PhD at the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham. I was introduced to
Richard, whom at the time shared an office with Keith Simpson (recent SpecialAdvisor to Tom King at MoD at the time, now MP and an advisor to the Foreign Secretary). They sat me on a chair in front oftheir desks and fired a dozen questions at me. That evening I went home and onbeing asked as to how I found them spoke as I felt, "It is like the antiquesroadshow on television - to say you have either one is a treasure, to have both ispriceless".

During the following three years I knew Richard I was immensely impressed by hisdedication to academic matters and to mentoring thinking on the evolution of British
Military Doctrine through civilian and military tutees. Richard's character andmanner was always thoughtful and engaging and although a decade since I completed my
time in Shrivenham it seems like yesterday.

Robin Ashby, Director General, U K Defence Forum

A couple of years ago I attended a lecture by Richard Holmes on Afghanistan (including the code of the Pashtuns) in Parliament. MPs often don't attend their own meetings, let alone anyone else's. This was packed. Some who are now Defence Ministers arrived on time but had to stand in the aisles of a packed house to be entertained, informed and to have their thought centres tickled. He'll be a big miss.

Dr Peter Caddick-Adams, U K Defence Academy

Richard was one of my closest friends.I find the prospect of a Holmes-free world is utterly devastating. He'd successfully seen off cancer but with a knackered immune system (from chemotherapy), he was then snatched by pneumonia yesterday morning at 3am. I last saw him bright as a button and buoyant at the beginning of the week, so this is a cruel side-swipe over the otherwise joyous Royal Wedding weekend.

One of the finest tributes I've read so far is"I hope he has already been welcomed into the celestial Mess and is perched in an ethereal corner, clutching a fine, angelic vintage, embarking on his first discussion of strategy (of several million to come) with Oliver Cromwell, the Dukes of Marlborough and Wellington, Field Marshal Sir John French and Sir Winston Churchill, all subjects of hisbiographies. Theycouldn't ask for better company"

Jon Wort

A great shock. Richard was an inspirational individual who certainly brought military history to life and was probably the catalyst for a generation of Battlefield historians/tour guides/enthusiasts.

Keith Simpson MP

I was fortunate enough to be serving as Adjutant of 1 WESSEX during his tenure as Commanding Officer 2 WESSEX and I shall retain nothing but good memories of an outstanding officer, scholar and all together a person who touched many people's lives.I knew Richard Holmes from when he and I were colleagues together in the Department of War Studies at Sandhurst and later as co-directors at the Cranfield Security Studies Institute. Richard was a first class military historian, the author of many books and articles, a superb lecturer whether it was to senior officers on the Higher Command and Staff Course or to the local branch of the Western Front Association. But he was very much an "applied academic" who was a very active member of the TA and as the senior TA officer had a crucial input in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review. He will be sadly missed by all his friends.

Dr Julian Lewis MP

Not only was he the archetypal scholar-soldier, Professor Holmes was a charismatic communicator of the first rank.

Julian Brazier MP

Richard Holmes was best known as one of the foremost military historians of the era.This remarkable man was also the first ever member of the Territorial Army to be theDirector of Reserves and Cadets, a post hitherto held exclusively by members of theRegular Armed forces. On arriving in post at the same time as an incoming Labourgovernment, one of his first tasks was to fight off powerful voices from within theRegular military and persuade ministers that a full Territorial Army should beretained, including combat units, rather reducing our reserves to a pool ofspecialists.

As an academic at Sandhurst and Shrivenham, he was an inspiration to a wholegeneration of rising officers, bringing the lessons of history alive in afast-changing era.

See the BBC obituary

Add comment

Security code

Latest from

  • rferl- At Least 10 Dead After Insurgent Attack, Roadside Blast In Afghanistan
    At least 10 people have been killed in two separate incidents in Afghanistan's southern Ghazni and Zabul provinces, officials say. "Unfortunately, eight local police were killed and another one was injured," said Arif Noori, a spokesman for the provincial governor, after a large number of Taliban militants attacked and overran a police checkpoint in Deh Yak district in Ghazni Province early on February 22.
  • KP- 3 ISIS militants killed, 1 wounded in US drone strike in Afghanistan
    At least three militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed in a US drone strike in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East said the latest drone strike was carried out in the vicinity of Deh Bala district.
  • Stripes- First troops among new front-line adviser brigade arrive in Afghanistan
    A new Army unit created specifically to advise and assist conventional foreign military forces has begun deploying to Afghanistan. The 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade — whose members will be dispersed at outposts throughout the country and be closer to the front lines of the war than most U.S. troops have been in years — is a key component of the Trump administration’s strategy for ending a stalemate with the Taliban.
  • KP- 5 Afghan intelligence staff killed in Parwan attack
    At least five workers of the Afghan Intelligence Agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS), were killed in militants attack in northern Parwan province of Afghanistan. According to the local government officials, the incident took place on Wednesday in the vicinity of Bagram district. The district administrative chief of Bagram Abdul Shukoor Qudoosi confirmed the incident and said the deceased individuals all belonged to the NDS directorate of Kapisa.
  • KP- Taliban’s military commission members killed in Farah roadside explosion
    At least four Taliban insurgents all belonging to the group’s military commission for western Farah province were killed in a roadside bomb explosion. According to the local officials, the incident took place in the vicinity of Anar Dara district after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted on a roadside went off targeting the vehicle of the militants.
  • KP- 12 Taliban insurgents killed in US airstrike in Tarinkot city
    At least twelve Taliban insurgents were killed in an airstrike conducted by the US forces in souther Uruzgan province of Afghanistan. According to the local security officials, the airstrike was carried out late on Wednesday night in the outskirts of Tarinkot city, the provincial capital of Uruzgan.
  • VOA- Afghanistan Unveils Plans for Controversial Militia Force
    Afghanistan’s ministry of defense has announced the creation of a new militia force comprising about 36,000 men to defend areas that military-led operations have cleared of Taliban insurgents. The move comes despite long-running accusations of rights abuses against the existing Afghan Local Police, which consists of local militias trained and paid by the U.S. military.
  • WaPo- Taliban attack police, intelligence
    Taliban fighters attacked a police security post in Afghanistan’s central Ghazni province, killing eight local policemen, while four intelligence officials died in an ambush by insurgents in the north, Afghan officials said Thursday. In northern Parwan province, the attackers sprayed the intelligence officials’ vehicle with automatic gunfire.
  • rferl- Afghan Militants ‘Trained In Iran’ Surrender Before TAPI Attack
    A group of 10 Afghan militants claiming to be trained by neighboring Iran to attack groundbreaking ceremonies for a major transnational gas pipeline in western Afghanistan have surrendered to the government. Afghan officials paraded the militants before journalists in the western Afghan province of Herat, where they were mostly active in the rural district of Guzara near the provincial capital, also called Herat.

British military casualties - Editorial policy

In the service of our country.

Eulogies for all personnel killed on UK operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are posted as soon as they have been released by the UK Ministry of Defence. Each eulogy we publish for men down in operations brings a lump to the throat. We are losing the best of the best. Politicians must ensure that, when the newspaper cuttings have faded, their sacrifice has had some meaning, has helped bring about a good result. Anything else would be a waste for which they will be eternally condemned.

There is invariably at least a 24 hour gap between the official release of news of an event and the naming of the dead. This is to allow families to be informed and proper eulogoies to be produced. Occasionally families request no euologies or comment. We abide by guidance we receive on such sensitive matters. We regret that information on those who sacrifice almost as much through grave injury is seldom released by the MoD for operational reasons, and so we are unable to pay tribute.


We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Defence Viewpoints website. However, if you would like to, you can modify your browser so that it notifies you when cookies are sent to it or you can refuse cookies altogether. You can also delete cookies that have already been set. You may wish to visit which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers. Please note that you will lose some features and functionality on this website if you choose to disable cookies. For example, you may not be able to link into our Twitter feed, which gives up to the minute perspectives on defence and security matters.