It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Captain Richard Holloway of the Royal Engineers was killed in action on 23 December 2013.
Captain Holloway died after being engaged by enemy fire whilst on operations east of Kabul.
Captain Richard Holloway, Royal Engineers
Captain Holloway, from County Durham, was 29. He leaves behind parents Jaquie and Neil, brother Luke and girlfriend Sandy. The family have paid the following tribute:
Our son Richard was an exceptional young man, a perfectionist in everything he did and a loyal brother and friend who embraced life to the full. He was a dedicated and totally committed member of the Armed Forces, relishing the excitement and challenge but always serious and reflective about his duties and responsibilities to those with whom he served.
The sense of adventure he experienced with the Royal Engineers was echoed in his love of travel to faraway places and physical activity including surfing, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking and climbing. Wherever the action was, he wanted to be part of it – and that is where our beloved son, of whom we are so very proud, lost his life.
Captain Holloway’s commanding officer said:
Captain Rich Holloway died as a result of direct enemy fire whilst on operations in eastern Afghanistan, leading from the front. He was one of the best, a natural leader. His tactical ability commanded wide respect, his judgement was unerring, his enthusiasm was infectious and his standards never dropped.
He had a humble self-confidence that instinctively drew people to him. His own brand of selflessness and professionalism marked him out as a soldier, but it was the warmth of his personality that set him out as a popular and effective leader.
It is hard to track, but at some point in the process Rich established himself not just as a highly respected troop commander, but one of the principal characters within the unit. In doing a difficult job in Afghanistan, he displayed a rare empathy and cultural understanding that ensured he was highly valued and revered by the Afghans whom he mentored tirelessly, as well as his colleagues.
He will be sorely missed by all those who had the privilege to work alongside him, but his memory will never be allowed to fade. A caring and loving son whose loss cannot be portrayed in words. We have lost a brother, they have lost their world.
Captain Ed Martin, Royal Engineers, said:
There was never a second wasted with Rich; he always had a plan and made the most of every day. He lived life to the full and was an inspiration to others to do the same. I have never met a more trustworthy, loyal or dedicated friend; he had humility in spades and I would have followed him anywhere.
I am very lucky to have known him and feel exceptionally fortunate to have had him as the best man at my wedding earlier this year; he will be dearly missed. But my loss is only minor compared to that of his parents Jaquie and Neil, his brother Luke and girlfriend Sandy. My thoughts are with them all at this incredibly difficult time. Rest in peace.
Captain Andy Brett, Royal Engineers, said:
It was a privilege to know Rich. He set the highest standards and achieved professional excellence; he always inspired me to do better! He taught me to enjoy life and make the most of every adventure. He will be remembered.
The Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said:
It was with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Captain Richard Holloway. It is clear from the tributes that have been paid to him that he was an officer who set the highest of standards and was liked and respected in equal measure by his colleagues and commanders.
His great contribution and, indeed, his sacrifice will not be forgotten. My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Captain Holloway’s family, friends and colleagues at this most difficult time.
Captain Holloway’s funeral service
The funeral service of Captain Richard Holloway took place in Durham Cathedral on Thursday 23 January 2014. As the cortege made its way to the cathedral hundreds of people lined the streets of Durham in silence to pay their respects.
Also, banners were lowered in salute by representatives of military associations including the Royal British Legion, Royal Air Force, Parachute Regiment, Light Infantry Regiment, Women’s Royal Army Corps and Fellowship of the Services.
The funeral was attended by over 600 people including senior military representatives from all 3 services, local dignitaries, Cardiff University friends of Richard, staff and former students of St John’s Catholic School, Bishop Auckland, and Hamsterley Primary School, as well as a large number of friends of the family from Hamsterley.
Powerful and moving tributes were paid by Captain Holloway’s commanding officer, close friends and his mother, whose words were delivered by the Lord Lieutenant of Durham. Richard was clearly an exceptional young man, highly respected for his outstanding ability, humility, sense of humour and passion for life, particularly outdoor pursuits such as mountain biking, kayaking, surfing and climbing.
The funeral was followed by the committal at St James’ Church in Hamsterley, which included a flypast and a burial with full military honours. The reception was held at Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland, where a port toast to Captain Holloway was shared by both military and civilian guests.