Major General Walter M. Holmes, MBE, MSM, CD was born in London, Ontario, he commenced his military career at the age of 13 with his High School Cadet Corps. This was followed by three years as a Reservist with the 3rd Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment, also garrisoned in London. Upon completion of High School, he applied and was accepted into the Officer Candidate Program as an Officer Cadet. After a year of tough training at the Royal Canadian Infantry School in Camp Borden, he was commissioned into The Royal Canadian Regiment in 1967 as a 2nd Lieutenant.
What followed was a career with the majority of time spent in command with the odd staff tour thrown into the mix. Command at Platoon, Company, Battalion, Regiment, Base, Brigade, Land Area and Division levels, the latter a NATO Multi-National command, provided challenges but equal measures of fun with the highlights being the opportunity to work and serve with the very best soldiers in the world. Staff positions at Battalion, Army and Corps levels, a tour as the Canadian Military Attaché in the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. and a three year teaching task at the Canadian Army Staff College in Kingston rounded out the balance of his 37 years of regular force service. Honourary Colonel Holmes is a graduate of the Canadian Army Staff College, the Canadian Forces College and the United States Army War College. One of his claims to fame is he has visited or exercised in North Norway 22 times, only once in summer.
Honourary Colonel Holmes retired from the Regular Army in late 2002 and commenced a second career as a security/military consultant working with a variety of organizations in Canada and Eastern Europe. He ended his contracting career in 2012 and has found that volunteering and bucket list travel has more than filled the vacuum. He remains engaged with a number of military associations and organizations in furthering the cause of supporting and recognizing serving soldiers and Veterans.
A five year tour as Colonel of The Regiment, The Royal Canadian Regiment, is considered by Honourary Colonel Holmes to be the highlight of his post service years. He followed four regimental battle groups in preparation for, and during their deployments to the Kandahar region of Afghanistan including visits to the region on three occasions. He was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps in August of 2013, providing him with another opportunity to be engaged in the business of soldiers and soldiering. He left this post in August of this year.
On October 26, 2016 General Holmes became the Honorary Colonel of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, the fifth regiment with which he has had the honour to serve.