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Kiwi Spitfire pilot laid to rest in Scotland

Published: 2:09PM Friday July 26, 2013 Source: ONE News

A solemn rededication ceremony for the partial remains of a New Zealand World War Two Spitfire pilot has been held in Scotland.

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.

He was laid to rest at a cemetary in Glasgow, Scotland on Thursday.

The ceremony was attended by Royal New Zealand Air Force Squadron Leader Susie Barns, Iain Anderson of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, members of the Air Crash Investigation and Archaeology Group, and members of the Scottish Police.

"The rededication service was a poignant time to reflect on service and sacrifice. Sergeant Robertson has now been reburied with the honour and dignity befitting an RNZAF pilot," Mrs Barns said.

The partial remains of Sergeant Robertson were discovered during the excavation of a Spitfire in Scotland in July 2012.

Sergeant Robertson was educated at Auckland Grammar and registered for military training in 1940 shortly after his 18th birthday.

He was trained at the Flying Training schools at Whenuapai and Ohakea. He left New Zealand for Britain in 1941 and was posted to RAF No.243 Squadron one week after his 20th birthday.

Family representative Kenneth Walker said at the service, "We visualise how it probably was for you when, in October 1942, you were posted to RAF No.65 Squadron at nearby Drem. Constantly training, flying exercises, more operations, the cold of a Scottish winter and plying the skies in a Supermarine Spitfire.

"We have thought about you as we think you might have been at 15.40 hours on 16 January 1943 when you powered Spitfire AR403 into cloudy skies for a one hour practice flight and aerobatics.

"Our vision is that the challenge in completing your flight far overshadowed the sound of the mighty Rolls Royce Merlin and any fleeting moments of exhilaration before you plunged through the cloud layer."