Andy Coogan was born in Glasgow in 1917, the oldest child of poor Irish immigrants. He was tipped for Olympic glory, but a promising running career was interrupted by war service. His capture during the fall of Singapore marked the beginning of a three-and-a-half-year nightmare of starvation, torture and disease. Andy was imprisoned in the notorious Changi camp before being transported to Taiwan, where he worked as a slave in a copper mine and was twice ordered to dig his own grave. He was later taken to Japan on a hell-ship voyage that nearly killed him, but Andy's athleticism and spirit enabled him to survive an ordeal in which many died.