Hero recalls his war-time stories

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A FORMER Carnoustie citizen of the year is to launch his memoir detailing his harrowing time as a prisoner of war at the Edinburgh Book Festival tomorrow (Saturday).

Andy Coogan (95) will share the experiences in his autobiography ‘Tomorrow You Die’ with an audience in the capital.

Mr Coogan, the great uncle of Britain’s greatest ever Olympian Sir Chris Hoy, was captured by the Japanese during the Second World War and spent three years as a prisoner of war.

The book traces his early life growing up in Glasgow’s Gorbals and becoming a promising long distance runner.

It then tells the story of him being called up by the Lanarkshire Yeomanry and being captured in Singapore after the battle of Malaya.

He recalls how he was subjected to slavery and starvation and was even forced to twice dig his own grave and watched as many of his counterparts died.

Mr Coogan was freed by the Americans in 1945 and battled back to health on his return to Scotland but was unable to compete in the 1948 London Olympics.

However, he still continued to be involved in athletics and founded the Tayside Amateur Athletics Club and competed in veterans competitions.

He also worked as a a caddy at Carnoustie.

And even at the age of 95, Mr Coogan has enjoyed a busy year so far as in June, he carried the Olympic torch through Dundee after being nominate by Sir Chris, who says he is his inspiration.

He also celebrated is 65th wedding anniversary and then watched on with pride as his nephew scooped his sixth Olympic gold medal in cycling at the London games.

And the town of Carnoustie have also honoured him as he led the town’s gala day parade last month.

The book launch will take place at the Peppers Theatre on Saturday and Mr Coogan will be joined by journalist Graham Ogilvy, who helped him write his memoir.