A search is under way for human remains at the site of a World War II Spitfire crash in which a Kiwi airman died almost 70 years ago.

Twenty-year-old pilot Sergeant Malcolm Robertson, of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, died when his RAF Spitfire crashed in the Scottish Borders on January 16, 1943.

Despite his reportedly being the only one on board, and the fact his remains were interred at the time at Craigton Cemetery in Glasgow, the UK's Daily Mirror has reported that police and anthropologists were at the site at Westruther after a group of voluntary excavators discovered bones last weekend.

Initial tests said the bones were human.


The aircraft crashed shortly after embarking on a training flight from Drem air base, East Lothian, where 602 Squadron were based.

Lothian and Borders Police and anthropologists from the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at Dundee University have been searching the site.

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.

"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.