70-year-old Spitfire crash site searched for human remains

 

A search has begun for human remains at the site of a Second World War Spitfire crash almost 70 years ago.

Police and anthropologists are examining the site at the village of Westruther, Berwickshire after a group of voluntary excavators discovered bones last weekend. Initial tests say the bones are human.

An RAF Spitfire crashed in the Scottish Borders on January 16 1943, killing 20-year-old pilot Sergeant Malcolm Robertson from the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

At the time, investigators said there was only one person on board the aircraft when it crashed shortly after embarking on a training flight from Drem air base, East Lothian where 602 Squadron were based.

Sergeant Robertson's remains were interred at Craigton Cemetery in Glasgow.

Lothian and Borders Police and anthropologists from the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at Dundee University hope to conclude their search tomorrow.

Detective Superintendent Lesley Boal said: "While the remains were recovered at the site where a World War II Spitfire crashed on January 16 1943, we will not be able to confirm identity until specialist forensic testing has been carried out.

"Our primary objective is to safely and securely undertake a dignified recovery of any other human remains present at the previously excavated site. While we are unable to confirm identification at the moment, the next of kin of the deceased pilot has been contacted and we will continue to keep them updated.

"An initial report has been submitted to the Scottish fatalities investigation team of Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service and we continue to liaise with the MoD (Ministry of Defence)."

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