You might well ask, what connection has Andy Coogan, a 95 year old man who carries the Olympic Torch today in Dundee, Scotland, with the Irish Jesuits. The answer is Fr. Richard (Dick) Kennedy SJ, (Dublin), who along with Andy, survived as prisoners of the Japanese during WW2. Andy was a champion runner however his promising athletic career was cut short by the outbreak of war, and he missed the chance to compete at the 1948 Olympics as a consequence of over 3 years as a POW. With help from Graham Oglivy, he is currently writing his memoirs. He was nominated to carry the torch by his grand-nephew, Sir Chris Hoy.
Andy was designated to assist Fr. Kennedy during their initial imprisonment in Singapore. Fr. Kennedy was a military chaplain to the British army. Together they organised a clandestine chapel and risked their lives to establish a secret chapel. Fr Kennedy went with Andy and the other men to toil in a copper mine in Formosa (Kinkasaki) which was absolute hell. The men died like flies and with little or no medical aid. Fr Kennedy became an inspiration helping the camp doctor who had no medicine and only rusty razor blades to perform operations.
Andy last saw Fr. Kennedy at an airfield in the Philippines after their liberation. In around 1947, Fr. Kennedy visited Andy’s home while he was working and left £10 for him as “unpaid wages”.
Subsequently, Fr. Kennedy was imprisoned in 1953 under the Communists of Canton and on his release worked in Hong Kong for the rest of his life. He never spoke about his time as a POW.