Richard Holmes (military historian)

Brigadier Edward Richard Holmes CBE TD JP (born March 29 1946), known as Richard Holmes, is a British soldier and noted military historian, particularly well-known through his many television appearances.

Holmes was educated at the University of Cambridge, as well as Northern Illinois University and the University of Reading.

In 1964, he enlisted in the Territorial Army, the part-time volunteer reserve of the British Army. Two years later he gained his commission, [LondonGazette|issue=44971|supp=yes|startpage=11383|date=25 November 1969|accessdate=2008-01-16] [LondonGazette|issue=45245|supp=yes|startpage=13398|date=4 December 1970|accessdate=2008-01-16] eventually rising to the rank of Brigadier. He spent most of his career in the Territorial Army with the 5th (Volunteer) Battalion, The Queen's Regiment, a NATO-centred infantry battalion.

Between 1969 and 1985, he was a member of the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, leaving to take command of the 2nd Battalion, The Wessex Regiment (having transferred to that regiment in 1983). [LondonGazette|issue=49467|supp=yes|startpage=11712|date=5 September 1983|accessdate=2008-01-16] He was promoted acting Captain in 1972, [LondonGazette|issue=45636|supp=yes|startpage=4018|date=30 March 1972|accessdate=2008-01-16] substantive Captain in 1973, [LondonGazette|issue=46046|supp=yes|startpage=9392|date=7 August 1973|accessdate=2008-01-16] acting Major in 1978, [LondonGazette|issue=47545|supp=yes|startpage=6548|date=26 May 1978|accessdate=2008-01-16] awarded the Efficiency Decoration (TD) in 1979, [LondonGazette|issue=47824|supp=yes|startpage=5392|date=23 April 1979|accessdate=2008-01-16] promoted to substantive Major in 1980, [LondonGazette|issue=48229|supp=yes|startpage=8996|date=23 June 1980|accessdate=2008-01-16] and Lieutenant-Colonel [LondonGazette|issue=50527|supp=yes|startpage=7097|date=23 May 1986|accessdate=2008-01-16] when he chose to give up full-time service in 1986. In the 1988 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) (Military Division). [LondonGazette|issue=51365|supp=yes|startpage=5|date=10 June 1988|accessdate=2008-01-16] He was promoted Colonel on 29 January 1989. [LondonGazette|issue=51713|supp=yes|startpage=4917|date=24 April 1989|accessdate=2008-01-16]

In 1990, he became Director of Cranfield University's Security Studies Institute at the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham. In June 1991 he was appointed Aide-de-Camp to the Queen, [LondonGazette|issue=52555|supp=yes|startpage=8947|date=10 June 1991|accessdate=2008-01-16] holding the post until February 1997. [LondonGazette|issue=54718|supp=yes|startpage=3877|date=27 March 1997|accessdate=2008-01-16] In January 1994 he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Southampton University Officer Training Corps, [LondonGazette|issue=53601|supp=yes|startpage=3179|date=28 February 1994|accessdate=2008-01-16] and in that February, he was appointed Brigadier TA at Headquarters Land Command. [LondonGazette|issue=53737|supp=yes|startpage=10279|date=18 July 1994|accessdate=2008-01-16] In 1995, he became Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield.

From 1997 until his retirement in 2000, [LondonGazette|issue=56217|supp=yes|notarchive=yes|startpage=6335|date=29 May 2001|accessdate=2008-01-16] Holmes was Director Reserve Forces and Cadets, as well as having the distinguished honour of being Britain's senior serving reservist. In the 1998 New Year Honours he was raised to Commander of the British Empire (CBE) (Military Division). [LondonGazette|issue=54993|supp=yes|startpage=5|endpage=6|date=30 December 1997|accessdate=2008-01-16] From September 1999 – 1 February 2007, he was Colonel of the Regiment of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (successor to The Queen's Regiment), whose Colonel-in-Chief is Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. [LondonGazette|issue=58238|supp=yes|notarchive=yes|startpage=1639|date=6 February 2007|accessdate=2008-01-16] On 19 September 2000 he was awarded the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal. [LondonGazette|issue=55974|supp=yes|notarchive=yes|startpage=10418|endpage=10419|date=19 September 2000|accessdate=2008-01-16]

He has written over a dozen books, from "Firing Line" to his "Redcoat" from the colour of British Army uniforms of that period. His television works include documentary series on the American Revolution such as "Rebels and Redcoats" [ [ Rebels and Redcoats] - Public Broadcasting Service summary] [imdb title|0433440|Rebels and Redcoats] in 2003 and "Battlefield", a series concentrating on the bloody battles of World War II. His "War Walks" television series has been regularly repeated on British terrestrial and digital television channels, including BBC2 and UKTV History. One of his most compelling documentary series was "", in which he chronicled the Duke's life, travelling to India, to Waterloo and to numerous other locations in a quest to truly reveal what the man was really like.

He used a similar format in his series, "In the Footsteps of Churchill", a documentary on Winston Churchill. In this, he travelled all 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. Both the book and the television series have received much critical acclaim.

In the BBC poll to find the "100 Greatest Britons", he presented the programme on Oliver Cromwell.

Holmes lives in Hampshire with his wife and two daughters. In his spare time he continues to sit as a Justice of the Peace for North-East Hampshire.


*"Bir Hacheim: Desert Citadel" (1971) ISBN 9780345024052
*"The Little Field Marshal: A Life of Sir John French" (1981) ISBN 9780224015752
*"Firing Line", (1985) ISBN 9780224020435
*"Acts of War: The Behaviour of Men in Battle", (1986) ISBN 9780029150207
* "Civil War battles in Cornwall, 1642 to 1646" (Mercia, 1989) ISBN 0948087323
*"World Atlas of Warfare: Military Innovations That Changed the Course of History" ISBN 9780670819676
*"Riding the Retreat: Mons to Marne: 1914 Revisited", (1995) ISBN 9780224037624
*"Battle", (1997) ISBN 9780751360578
*"The Western Front", (1999) ISBN 9781575001470
*"World War II in Photographs", (2000) ISBN 9781842220733
*"Battlefields of the Second World War", (2001) ISBN 9780563537823
*"The First World War in Photographs", (2001) ISBN 9781842223192
*"Redcoat: The British Soldier in the Age of Horse and Musket", (2001) ISBN 9780002570978
*"Wellington: The Iron Duke", (2002) ISBN 9780007137480
*"The D-Day Experience: From the Invasion to the Liberation of Paris", (2004) ISBN 9781844428052
*"Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front", (2004) ISBN 9780007137510
*"In the Footsteps of Churchill", (2005) ISBN 9780563521761
*"Sahib: The British Soldier in India 1750-1914", (2005) ISBN 9780007137534
*"Dusty Warriors: Modern Soldiers at War", (2006) ISBN 9780007212842
*"The World at War: The Landmark Oral History from the Previously Unpublished Archives", Ebury Press, (2007) ISBN 9780091917517


External links

* [ The World at War website]

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