BSc Manch 1948, MSc 1950, PhD 1955, MB ChB 1958; FRCP Lond 1971.
Holmes was born in Salford on 3 May 1927 and was educated at Salford Grammar School and the University of Manchester. Holmes studied chemistry and physiology and was demonstrator in physiology before being awarded an entrance scholarship in medicine. After qualifying in medicine, winning many distinctions, Holmes held house positions at MRI and Hammersmith Hospital. In 1961 Holmes returned to Manchester and held positions at MRI and Crumpsall Hospital before being appointed senior registrar at MRI and later at Withington Hospital. In 1966 Holmes engaged in research into gastroenterology. Holmes was later appointed part time consultant physician at MRI and also practised privately.