A British film industry pioneer who began his career working on silent films has died.

Michael Hickey, one of the UK’s first sound technicians, died last Thursday, aged 94.

Mr Hickey moved to Borehamwood in 1945 after working in the Army Film and Photographic Unit during the Second World War.

He had started his career as a projectionist of silent movies in 1928 at Astoria in Charing Cross Road, London. Soon after, the cinema started showing talkies, or movies with sound, and he became one of the few people in the country to learn how to operate the new sound equipment.

He worked in all the big West End cinemas before working on newsreels for Paramount News.

When war broke out in 1939, he was drafted into the army’s film unit. Some of the film crews were sent to battlefields in Europe and North Africa, but Mr Hickey spent the entire war at Pinewood Studios, mainly making training films for new recruits.

After the war, Mr Hickey worked as a sound man at MGM’s new studios in Borehamwood, where he stayed until the studios closed in 1969.

Mr Hickey’s son Robert said: “He was a wonderful father and a great character. For more than 60 years he worked in an industry that he loved — the film and TV industry.”

In his time at MGM, Mr Hickey worked for the two men he considered the best film directors of all-time — Stanley Kubrick and David Lean.

In an interview with the Borehamwood & Elstree Times in May 2005, Mr Hickey said: “I’ve had a very good life, let’s face it. I have been one of the very lucky ones, met the right people at the right time and I’ve worked in India, Barbados, Cairo and all over Europe. I’ve been very lucky.”

Mr Hickey’s funeral will take place at 9.20am on Wednesday February 11 at the West Herts Crematorium, in High Elms Lane, Garston, followed by refreshments at The Wishing Well, in Shenley Road, Borehamwood. Everyone is welcome to attend, and donations will be accepted for The Meadows care home, where Mr Hickey spent the latter part of his life.