Borders field searched for remains of Second World War Spitfire hero
POLICE have been searching for human remains at a site where a Second World War fighter plane crashed in the Borders 69 years ago.
Officers spent yesterday combing an area at Westruther near Greenlaw, Berwickshire, where an RAF Spitfire crashed in 1943. A number of bones had already been found buried nearby.
The team is being assisted by anthropologists from Dundee University’s Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, who joined the search after pathologists confirmed that the bones were human.
An RAF Spitfire crashed in the Borders on the afternoon of 16 January, 1943, killing its 20-year-old pilot, Sergeant Malcolm Robertson of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
At the time, investigators said there was only one person on board the aircraft, which was on a training flight from Drem air base, East Lothian, where 602 Squadron was based.
Sgt Robertson’s remains were believed to have been interred at Craigton Cemetery in Glasgow.
But bones were discovered recently by a local group which specialises in the excavation and recovery of Second World War aircraft, when they were working at the site.
Detective Superintendent Lesley Boal of Lothian and Borders Police said: “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 have been contacted and we will continue to keep them updated.
“An initial report has been submitted to the Scottish fatalities investigation team of the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service, and we continue to liaise with the Ministry of Defence.”.
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