Some of my wargaming friends are quite gutted about this story. Apparently the guided tours he gave were legendary. I read his book Tommy years ago and loved it. RIP. MP+
Professor Richard Holmes

Professor Richard Holmes, who died on April 30 aged 65, was one of Britain’s most distinguished military historians, and a distinctive broadcaster with a soldierly mien, imparting knowledge and enthusiasm in equal measure.

Battlefields were Holmes’s natural habitat, and defined him as a television presenter, often up to his knees in mud for the BBC series War Walks in the 1990s, in which he toured the trenches of the First World War. He went on to make documentaries about the American Revolution in Rebels and Redcoats (2003), an acclaimed profile of Oliver Cromwell as part of the 100 Greatest Britons series in 2002, and the wide-ranging In The Footsteps Of Churchill (2005), which he accompanied with a book.

Although a born communicator with a quiet but decisive air and always at ease in front of the camera, Holmes was an unlikely media star. His old-school persona and academic background in a field of study that had lain largely neglected by modern television might have consigned him to obscurity, but he lit the vital spark to fire the viewer’s interest and, simply by being himself, struck the perfect balance between erudition and populism. “I don’t really see myself as a TV presenter,” Holmes explained. “I’m a historian who likes telling stories.”

His subject was war, described where possible from the point of view of the soldier of the line. He always sought to balance his innate gung-ho enthusiasm with a desire to keep the ordinary soldier centre stage. Although one critic mocked him as “the Sister Wendy Beckett of blood and guts”, Holmes was always at pains never to glorify war.

Read the whole obituary here.