Richard Holmes was born on 1st November 1977. He joined the Parachute Regiment after studying law at Liverpool University. He lived in Winchester, Hampshire with his wife, Kate, whom he married shortly before deploying to Iraq in October 2005.
Richard joined the Army in January 2001. After completion of Officer Training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst he was commissioned into The Parachute Regiment. On successful completion of the demanding Pre-Parachute Selection, the Basic Parachute Course at RAF Brize Norton and the Platoon Commander's Battle Course he joined B Company, the Second Battalion The Parachute Regiment. He served with the Battalion in Northern Ireland and also completed an earlier tour in Iraq. He completed an attachment with the The Highlanders before returning to The Parachute Regiment in April 2005 to command the Anti Tank Platoon. He deployed to Maysaan with D Company as part of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Battle Group in October 2005.
During his time in Maysaan, Captain Holmes worked tirelessly with the local Iraqi Security Forces. His principal work in Iraq was developing and mentoring a co-ordinated Iraqi Operations Centre, a task requiring tact, personality and patience. His efforts to learn Arabic and embrace the local culture, coupled with his natural sparkle and enthusiasm, endeared him greatly to the Iraqis with whom he worked so closely. This in turn made him highly effective in influencing and enhancing the organisation for which he was responsible. A fine ambassador for The Parachute Regiment, he will also be greatly missed by his many friends in The Highlanders and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
Lieutenant Colonel James Chiswell, his Commanding Officer, said:
"Charming, compassionate and bright, Richard was one of The Parachute Regiment's rising stars. He brought a warm humour and enormous professionalism to all he touched. He excelled as a young commander with both The Parachute Regiment and The Highlanders, and was deeply respected by those he led.
"In Iraq he made a real difference, displaying wise judgement and total dedication in his efforts to progress the efficiency of the Iraqi Police in Al Amarah. His determination to understand and share in the local culture was typical of his positive outlook and, as always, reaped dividends and won him many friends.
"As a reflection of his ability and character, he was due to leave us later this year to take up a prestigious instructor's post as a Platoon Commander at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Kind, fun and warm humoured, he was a pleasure to be with and always saw the lighter side of life.
"With his passing, The Parachute Regiment has lost a fine soldier and officer. Our thoughts are with his wife, family and many friends."