MORE than 700 mourners, including the Defence Secretary and senior military officers, have attended the funeral of the former head of the Royal Marines.

Major General Matthew Holmes, who was a pall-bearer at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral, was found dead at his home in Winchester on October 2.

An inquest heard he was found hanged after he had been having "concerns" about his career and his marriage.

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

Among those at the funeral at Winchester Cathedral were his widow, Lea, a solicitor, and his children, William, 11, and Eleanor, 15.

Also present were Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, the outgoing Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter, and his replacement, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, who will take up the post next month.

A line of marines paraded on the approach to the cathedral while the coffin arrived by hearse.

The coffin, draped in the Union flag with Maj Gen Holmes' cap and a wreath of white roses on top, was carried into the cathedral by the same pallbearers who joined Maj Gen Holmes at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.

All elements of the Royal Marines attended the funeral, which was led by the Dean of Winchester Catherine Ogle, including 42 Commando, to which Maj Gen Holmes belonged, with music provided by the Royal Marines Band Service.

A crowd of mourners gathered in the grounds alongside standard bearers from the Royal Marines Association and the US Marine Corps.

Maj Gen Holmes' widow released a statement paying tribute to him.

She said: "My husband Matt was a kind, generous man. He was courageous and had committed his life to serving in the Royal Marines; he was selfless to such an extent that this was more important than his own career progression."

A full inquest into his death will be held on February 10, 2022.

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