Swimmer Shocked After Finding Bag Of Human Ashes On UK Beach, Believed To Be Former US Marine

An avid swimmer was shocked after finding a bag of human ashes that was washed ashore on a UK beach, believed to be a former US Marine, according to Press and Journal.

While at Nairn's East Beach in Scotland, Morag Paterson stumbled upon something that appeared to be sand wrapped in a clear bag, but as she took a closer look, she noticed a medal tag that read Central Michigan Crematory Battle Creek MI with an identification number on it.

Paterson was stunned to uncover that she was holding a bag of human ashes. She took the bag home with her to keep it safe while she located a close relative. She first contacted the crematory facility in hopes to find out information about the ashes, Mirror reports.

"I was down at the East Beach, about to take the usual dip in the sea, and there, right in front of me, was a smallish, solid looking polythene bag," said Paterson. "It had a silver tag attached to a wire closure."

The Central Michigan Crematory Battle Creek MI told Paterson that the human ashes belonged to a former US Marine, Alfred Hopwood, who died at the age of 96.

Although Hopwood was a former US Marine, he had family in Scotland, which led Paterson to believe that his family's intentions were to scatter his ashes in Scotland, but somehow ended up at Nairn's East Beach.

"I discovered he'd emigrated aged eight with his parents and sister, first to Canada, and then to the USA," she continued.
"He returned to Nairn to visit with his nephew and wife when he was 84 as he had a longing to see Nairn and Scotland again before he died."
Paterson was able to get in contact with Hopwood's family, and they plan to meet up to have a ceremony for the former Marine. Until then, Paterson said she will be keeping the bag of human ashes in her home, and making sure that it is kept safe.
"I have learned that he loved swans and the water and lived on the riverside right where the swans gather, so it is rather lovely that he has returned here and could now be laid to rest once more in the river flowing to the sea, by the swans."

"The story is rather amazing."

[Image courtesy of Matty Cardy/Getty Images]