Tuesday 24 October 2017

Dashing Army captain who left all of us ladies green with envy

His greeting the Queen captured our hearts, but sadly this captain is taken, girls, writes Niamh Horan

So who was that dashing man who greeted Queen Elizabeth on her arrival to our emerald Isle at Aras an Uachtarain last week?

As surely as Pippa Middleton stole the show at the royal wedding, in Ireland Captain Thomas Holmes has become the talking point among scores of admiring ladies for his performance during her majesty's State visit.

But there'll be broken hearts everywhere when they learn our very own prince of charms is firmly taken.

Captain Thomas Holmes, the army officer who marched across in front of Aras an Uachtarain to the Queen of England, flanked by two Irish Army officers, and indicated that the guard of honour was ready for her inspection, captured the heart of the nation.

With his broad shoulders and imposing gait, he set hearts aflutter in his olive green regimental colours.

But then again there's nothing like a man in uniform.

The 27-year-old, from Naas, Co Kildare, went to school in the Dominican College, Newbridge, and long harboured dreams of joining the Irish army.

"In school I always liked the physical aspect of the army and always wanted an active job," explained the young captain this weekend.

In 2001 he joined the armed forces and impressed his superiors so much that he swiftly rose up the ranks and became a captain at the remarkable age of 27.

Then, after a senior officer approached him to lead the Guard of Honour in May of this year, his style and skill at the job led to his big moment in front of a captivated nation.

"The unit which was picked for the 1916 commemoration in Arbour Hill did a good job and had already been trained up, so it was decided that the same people should be kept on for the Queen's visit," he said.

As the captain, who has a keen interest in rugby and is a member of the Naas rugby club, explained: "We came together from the Air Corps, the Navy and the Army to train in the Kilkenny Barracks and it took about two weeks in total.

"I was pretty nervous on the big day itself but my senior officer told me to stay calm and reminded me that we had put the hard work in so it would come right on the day."

Captain Thomas and the 5th Battalion Infantry, along with the Air Corps and Naval Service, impressed the Queen so much that she commented how she had never seen a tri-service guard of honour before, but that it looked very smart.

"My girlfriend of three-and-a-half years Jane Logan-Phelan was watching at home along with my parents and they were all very proud," he said.

Asked how he felt about becoming the object of desire for the nation's ladies, Captain Holmes, who served in Kosovo from October 2009 to June 2010, replied coyly: "I didn't know that -- but I suppose I'm a little embarrassed."

He added: "I just have to emphasise that credit must go to the other officers, NCOs, privates, seamen, airmen and logistical staff involved in the guard of honour whose effort made it all happen. And to the defence forces personnel involved in the security operation whose unseen work was vital."

Sunday Independent

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