Edward Richard Holmes
29 March 1946
|Died||30 April 2011 (aged 65)|
|Occupation||Professor of Military and Security Studies|
|Service/||British Army (TA)|
|Years of service||1964-2000|
Edward Richard Holmes, CBE, TD, VRSM, JP (29 March 1946 - 30 April 2011), known as Richard Holmes, was a British military historian, known for his many television appearances. He was co-director of Cranfield University's Security and Resilience Group from 1989 to 2009 and became Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield in 1995.
In 1964 he enlisted in the Territorial Army, the volunteer reserve of the British Army. Two years later he received a commission as a second lieutenant with the T.A., and was promoted to lieutenant on 17 June 1968. He was promoted acting captain in 1972, substantive captain in 1973, acting major in 1978, promoted to substantive major in 1980. In 1983, he transferred to and took command of the 2nd Battalion, The Wessex Regiment. In 1979 he was awarded the Territorial Decoration (the Long Service Decoration of the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve).
He was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1986. In the 1988 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) (Military Division). He was promoted colonel on 29 January 1989. In June 1991, he was appointed aide-de-camp to the Queen, holding the post until February 1997.
In January 1994, he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Southampton University Officer Training Corps, and in that February, he was appointed Brigadier-General TA at Headquarters Land Command.
In 1995, he became Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield University. From 1997 until his retirement in 2000, Holmes was Director General, Reserve Forces and Cadets, the Army's senior reservist. In the 1998 New Year Honours, he was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) (Military Division).
From September 1999 to 1 February 2007, he was Colonel of the Regiment of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (successor to The Queen's and Royal Hampshire Regiments). On 19 September 2000, he was awarded the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal.
Holmes was educated at Forest School, Walthamstow, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Northern Illinois University and the University of Reading, where he was awarded a PhD in 1975. Between 1969 and 1985 he was a lecturer at the Department of War Studies at the RMA Sandhurst, becoming Deputy-Head of the department in 1984.
In 1989 he was appointed as the Co-director of Cranfield University's Security Studies Institute at the Royal Military College of Science, at Shrivenham. He became Professor of Military and Security Studies there in 1995, retiring from both positions, although retaining some part-time responsibilities in 2009.
Holmes was also President of the British Commission for Military History, and the Battlefields Trust. He was also a patron of the Guild of Battlefield Guides, He received the Order of the Dannebrog and held honorary doctorates from the universities of Leicester and Kent.
Holmes wrote more than twenty published books, including Firing Line and Redcoat, and was also Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford University Press' Companion to Military History. His television works included writing and presenting documentary series on the American Revolution such as Rebels and Redcoats in 2003 and Battlefields, a series concentrating on the bloody battles of the Second World War. His War Walks television series has been regularly repeated on British terrestrial and digital television channels, including BBC Two and UKTV History. One of his documentary series was Wellington: The Iron Duke, in which he chronicled the Duke of Wellington's life, travelling to India, to Waterloo and numerous other locations.
He used a similar format in his series, In the Footsteps of Churchill, a documentary on Winston Churchill. In this, he travelled across the world, including South Africa, Sudan, Egypt and various locations in the United Kingdom and Europe. He also wrote a book to accompany the series.
Holmes married Catherine Saxton in 1975, with whom he had two daughters.