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News > Announcements > Obituaries > In Memoriam: Michael Hannon (45 - 49)

In Memoriam: Michael Hannon (45 - 49)

You are warmly welcomed to leave a message below, share your memories and celebrate the life of Michael Hannon who we sadly lost in 2023.
23 May 2023
Written by Robin Knight
Obituaries
Michael Hannon
Michael Hannon

 

 

OBITUARY: M.K. HANNON (45-49)

Michael Keith Hannon (45-49), a retired Major in the Army, died on March 13th, 2023 aged 91, at a hospital near his home in Mere, Wiltshire as the Society was informed by his son and by Anthony Sainthill (57-62).

Mike arrived at the NCP in the summer term of 1945 as World War 2 in Europe was ending from the John Fisher School in Purley, Surrey. He left four years later to do his National Service. In between he became Chief of Harbinger Division, a member of the Shooting team and winner of Open Prizes in Music, Maths and Science – destined, he hoped, for a spell in the Royal Navy.

A Eulogy given at his funeral in April continues: “Fate had other ideas; in 1950, the Navy list was ‘full’. Undeterred, Mike signed up with the Army. Following basic training, he found himself at Mons Officer Cadet School, where a chance remark by a recruiting officer steered him to the Royal Artillery and 1 Royal Horse Artillery, an armoured artillery regiment. Joining Chestnut Troop, he was sent to Egypt, where his indomitable sense of humour quickly made him a popular member of the mess.

“Returning to England, considerably browner than most of his contemporaries, he was a popular guest at cocktail parties and was introduced to Ann, who lived in Wraysbury, not far from his parents' home on Magna Carta Island. The relationship almost failed to get off the ground; in response to Ann's remark "You're very like your brother Neill", Mike replied "Actually, he is like me".  

“Mike and Ann eventually married in December 1953 when Mike was 22. By then Ann had become the youngest stage director at London's Q Theatre near Kew Bridge. A career in the theatre in those days was often regarded as the second most unacceptable profession for a woman, and the idea of a ‘stage girl’ marrying an army officer, and the grandson of an MP to boot, was nothing short of scandalous! The newspapers had a field day.

“After completing National Service, Mike started a new career at the Atomic Research Centre at Harwell reflecting the fact that Physics was one of his favourite academic subjects. However, a visit by a general to the facility soon saw him re-joining the Army. Subsequently, he gained a degree at the Royal Military College of Science in Shrivenham.

“Post-war life in a steadily contracting Army went on, including postings to Singapore, Malaya and Germany. While in Germany, after a stint with a field regiment, Mike moved into computers. This kick-started his next career as an executive with IBM. It was to be a challenging move, but it paid off. In 22 years with the company, both he and Ann stayed in many of the finest hotels in Europe as Mike pursued a successful career in sales and marketing. In the late-1970s and 1980s, the couple lived in Düsseldorf and Munich.

“During a company seminar near Brussels one rainy Sunday afternoon, when the participants were sitting idly in the bar, Mike suggested that they should all rent bicycles and cycle out to the nearby battlefield of Waterloo. There he gave them an impromptu talk about the battle. The idea for "Grapeshot," a Battlefield Tour Company, was born. It became his final career.

“In 1957 Ann and Mike had had a son Peter. Ann died in 2015. Some years later, having heard Mike tell one his amusing and entertaining stories for the umpteenth time, Peter said to him: ‘You really ought to write them down so that people can read them at their leisure.’ Typically, Mike did not hesitate and started working on a book the following day. Printed for his 90th birthday, this little volume is titled An Accidental Life. It tells the story of a man who regarded his life as a series of accidents, most of which are taken with his typical sense of humour. It is warmly recommended.”

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