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Professor Richard Holmes

Professor Richard Holmes: President of the British Commission for Military History and Trustee of the Royal Armouries

Historian and Broadcaster to be Honoured by University

The military historian and television presenter Professor Richard Holmes, CBE(Mil), (OBEMil)), TD is among 11 people who will receive honorary degrees from the University of Leicester at ceremonies to be held in De Montfort Hall from 11th –14th July

The honorary degrees are awarded in acknowledgement of the distinctive contributions and achievements of the recipients within their respective fields. The University will also be conferring two Distinguished Honorary Fellowships.

Professor Holmes, who lives in Hampshire, will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters on 12th July.

Richard Holmes is a military historian at Cranfield University where he has been Professor of Military and Security Studies since 1995 and Co-Director of the Security Studies Institute since 1989.

He is well-known to the public for his many television series and documentaries, including War Walks (1996 and 1997), The Western Front, (1999), Battlefields (2001), Wellington: the Iron Duke (2002) and Rebels and Redcoats (2003).

He was awarded the OBE (Military) in 1988, the CBE (Military) ten years later and the Territorial Decoration in 1979, Bar 1985 and 2nd Bar 1996.

After studying at Cambridge University, Northern Illinois University and Reading University, Richard Holmes moved to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, where he was Lecturer in the Department of War Studies from 1969-73, subsequently becoming Deputy Head of Department in 1984-86. He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel (non-Regular Permanent Staff), and Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion, Wessex Regiment (Volunteers) 1986- 1988.

In 1964 Richard Holmes enlisted in the Territorial Army, becoming a Brigadier in 1994 and Director of Reserve Forces and Cadets in 1997. In 1999 he became Colonel in the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.

He is President of the Corps of Drums Society and the Battlefields Trust; Patron of the Guild of Battlefields Guides, JP for Hampshire and Commander 1st Class of the Order of the Dannebrog (Denmark). Currently he is President of the British Commission for Military History and Trustee of the Royal Armouries

He has published numerous books on different aspects of military history, from the English Civil War to the Western Front, most recently Sahib (2005) and Dusty Warriors (2006).

Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Burgess said:

"As we celebrate the success of our students, we are always delighted to award honorary degrees to people whose contribution to their local communities, society and the world at large is indisputable.

“This has been a very special year for the University- we were ranked joint first for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey amongst institutions with full-time provision and we have broken into the top 20 of the Times Good University Guide for the first time.

“These are tremendous successes at a time that Leicester is investing heavily for the future- our £300m Development Plan has seen new state-of-the-art facilities come on stream providing new opportunities for advances in research and teaching excellence.

“It is appropriate that graduation, a time of celebration of individual achievement and merit, provides an occasion for the University to mark its collective achievement alongside personalities who have contributed so significantly to society.”

University of Leicester Awards:

Morning ceremonies start at 11am and afternoon ceremonies start at 3pm. All ceremonies are held at De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Distinguished Honorary Fellows:

  • Lord Attenborough -13th July (pm)
  • Sir David Attenborough -13th July (pm)


  • Ms Patricia Barker – Doctor of Letters -11th July (pm), Novelist
  • Mr Norman Rosenthal –Doctor of Letters - 11th July (pm), Leicester graduate. Exhibitions Secretary, Royal Academy of Arts
  • Professor Richard Holmes – Doctor of Letters - 12th July (am), Professor of Military and Security Studies, Cranfield University
  • Sir Mike Tomlinson- Doctor of Laws - 12th July (am), Former HM Chief Inspector of Schools; Chairman of Hackney Education Trust
  • Ms Marina Warner- Doctor of Letters -12th July (pm), Writer and Critic
  • Mr John Bloor –Doctor of Laws - 13th July (am), Owner of Bloor Holdings, leading Midlands housebuilder with numerous subsidiary interests, including Triumph
  • Professor Martin Taylor –Doctor of Science- 13th July (am), Professor of Pure Mathematics, University of Manchester
  • Professor Dame Carol Black –Doctor of Science-14th July (am), President, Royal College of Physicians; Professor of Rheumatology,UCL
  • Professor Sir George Radda –Doctor of Science-14th July (am), Former Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council
  • The Rt Hon The Baroness Amos – Doctor of Laws- 14th July (pm), Leader of the House of Lords since 2003
  • Professor Laurie Taylor –Doctor of Letters- 14th July (pm), Leicester graduate. Former Professor of Sociology at York. THES columnist.
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