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Friday 20 September 2019

Irish emigrant's ashes located after going missing in transit on Aer Lingus flight from Australia

The ashes are due to be scattered at a ceremony on Wednesday

The Gilmour family pictured at their Dublin hotel. (L-R) Declan Gilmour, Kristen Hynes, Bob Gilmour and Sarah Gilmour
The Gilmour family pictured at their Dublin hotel. (L-R) Declan Gilmour, Kristen Hynes, Bob Gilmour and Sarah Gilmour

Evie Kearney

An Australian man who has travelled to Ireland to scatter his emigrant parents' remains had their ashes lost in transit by Aer Lingus.

Bob Gilmour (63) emigrated along with his parents from Ballymena, Antrim to Australia in 1967 when he was 11. His father, Sam Gilmour, met his English mother during the Second World War.

Mr Gilmour travelled from Australia to Europe with his family this summer after his daughter was invited to train with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Milan, Italy and decided to extend their trip and bring the ashes to respect his parents' wishes.

"We thought since she’s been invited to do that and I had my mum and my dad's ashes sitting in boxes on the mantelpiece - this is the opportunity. All four of us will go and we will take mum and dad home, easy peasy," he said.

With the help of relatives, the family organised two ceremonies - one in Ballymena and one in Birmingham - to lay his parents to rest this week.

The family of four were due to spend five days in Ireland before flying to England for his mother's funeral ceremony but when they arrived in Dublin from Milan on Saturday they found that Aer Lingus had lost all of their luggage.

"We got here, the bags didn’t, and since then it’s been just a nightmare," Mr Gilmour told

The airline were able to locate two of the four lost bags on Monday and thankfully, a spokesperson has confirmed to this evening that the remaining luggage has been found.

"Aer Lingus can confirm that the missing baggage has been located in Milan Malpensa Airport. Regrettably it was not loaded onto the Aer Lingus flight by the baggage handlers at Malpensa Airport. The baggage will now arrive overnight into Dublin Airport where it will be immediately transported to the family. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused."

Before their deaths, both of Mr Gilmour's parents expressed a wish to be cremated and have their remains returned to their respective home places as the pair "never quite adapted" to their new Australian home.

"They were willing migrants but neither of them ever really saw themselves as Australians," Mr Gilmour added.

"My dad was always an Irishman, my mum was always an English girl, and at some point they both decided that when they died they would like to have their ashes brought back to their respective home countries."

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