The school was informed that Michael passed away on 8 November 2013. The school and his widow Bridget compiled the following obituary:
Choir boy, actor, military man, oarsman and scholar, Michael was an enthusiastic member of Magdalen College School, descended from a line of MCS Hickeys (his father, uncles and grandfathers all came to the school). Born in Burton upon Trent in 1929, Michael came to MCS in 1939, where he joined the choir, becoming head chorister in 1944, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He loved the choir, the sport and the academic life. He made life-long friends and hardly a year went by that he did not get in touch with MCS. A talented actor, he was usually picked for the women’s roles, which he played willingly.
He left school in the Lower Sixth in 1947, had excelled in the Junior Training Corps and the Forces were a natural progression for him. The army and flying fulfilled his adventurous spirit and provided a life-long interest. He served in Korea, Malaysia, Kenya and Germany, and who knows what he witnessed. But his love of life and people meant that whatever he experienced he would somehow have seen the best in it. He attended Staff College at Camberley, instructed at Shrivenham, and was awarded a Defence Fellowship at King’s College, London, before his final posting at Brize Norton. On leaving the army in 1981, Michael ran a defence lobby group and became Director of the Museum of Army Flying.
When he left the Forces he embarked on a series of academic and respected works on 20th-century history and military campaigns. He had several books published covering numerous military campaigns including Burma, Gallipoli and Korea. Michael also led tours of the Gallipoli battlefields where he was able to share his knowledge of the campaign to bring alive the personal stories of those who served to his guests – often relatives of the soldiers who had fought in the campaign.
Music was his greatest passion throughout his life. He sang in several choirs during various postings with the Army. When the family lived in Winchester, Michael sang with the Waynflete Singers, which was very special to him. He was Chairman of the choir for six years, during which time he introduced the Waynflete Obit in the Cathedral. When Michael and Bridget moved to Kintbury (near Newbury) in 2005 he joined several local choirs but always remained a committed supporter of the Waynflete Singers.
He had a wonderful sense of fun, rowing for the OWs, proposing grand toasts at OW dinners, landing a helicopter at the school in 1959 on his way to military camp. His memory was excellent and he was a much-valued source of information on MCS boys and events that stretched back via word of mouth to his grandfather’s time at the school.
Michael always said that he had been so lucky to have had such an interesting life. Bridget, his wife of 53 years, and his sons Miles and James will really miss him.