Aircraft Type Photo
BELOW: A Spitfire Mk.Vb (replica). The Mark Vb is the type of Spitfire featured on this page.
Photo 2009 Rodhullandemu
BELOW: A later model of the Supermarine Spitfire.
This Mk.XVI variant was photographed taking part in an air show at Duxford in September 2006.
Aircraft Type and Background
RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb / AR403
Aircraft Type Nickname: "The Spit".
Designed by R J Mitchell, the elliptical-winged Supermarine Spitfire was one of the most capable and effective fighters of WWII. It was produced in a number of variants, and with different power plants and armaments. The Spitfire was considered a high performing, agile and stable fighter platform. Ultimately, 20,000 Spitfires and Sea Spitfires (or 'Seafires'; the naval variant) were produced.
The Spitfire first entered service with the RAF at Duxford in August, 1938, and many subsequent variants were produced.
During the Battle of Britain, Mk I Spitfires were outnumbered by Hawker Hurricanes. Nevertheless, the Spitfires were usually considered as the most deadly aircraft in the skies above Britain.
The Mark II Spitfire was equipped with a Rolls-Royce Merlin XII engine of 1,175hp. The Mark IIA variant was fitted with eight .303in machine guns.
BELOW: RAF Spitfires in flight
Aircraft Accident Details
Flown by Sgt Malcolm Robertson, a New Zealand pilot, Spitfire AR403 of 65 Squadron was on a training flight over southern Scotland. The exercise was to practice climbing and aerobatic manoeuvres.
However, during one of these manoeuvres, the Spitfire was reported to have dived vertically out of cloud. It crashed into the grounds of Wedderlie House, catching fire on impact.
Aircraft Pilot Casualty
The pilot who died in this accident was:
(Please click on the hyperlinked name above for more details at the Commonwealth War Grave Commission's website.)
Sgt Robertson was laid to rest at Craigton Cemetery, Glasgow.
In 2012, and following expert anthropological examination, further human remains found at the crash site were identified as belonging to Sgt Robertson. These remains were reinterred at Sgt Robertson's grave in Glasgow (Craigton Cemetery) in 2013.
[This information was kindly provided by Scott McIntosh.]
Crash Site Related Photos
Renewed Search and Recovery Operation
BELOW: In 2012, forensic scientists and other specialists carried out a renewed search and recovery operation at the crash site.
The human remains found during this recovery were later identified as belonging to the Pilot, Sgt. Malcolm Robertson.
Photo: 2012, Lothian and Borders Police.
Crash Date / Site
Accident Date: 16 Jan 1943
Region: Scottish Borders
Nearest town or village:
Nearest large towns: Berwick on Tweed (E).
OS Grid Ref: N/A
GPS Ref: N/A
Present Condition: The crash site underwent renewed excavation and forensic examination in 2012. Further human remains found were identified later as belonging to the pilot.
RAF / RNZAF and Related Links
Drem Aerodrome (Aerial view and history of airfield.)
Remains of RAF Drem (YouTube video)
Hill Walking Links
(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)
Hillwalking (The Scottish Mountaineering Club)
Hillwalking.org.uk (Equipment, etc.)
Mountain Guides (Routes, maps, advice and guidance compiled by Steven Fallon)
OutdoorScotland.co.uk (Directory of Clubs, Associations, and Mountain Rescue Teams)
WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)
Other Outdoor Activities
Backpacking and Backpackers
Cicerone (Backpacking Guides for Walking in the UK)
Kayaking and Canoeing
Kayak Scotland (Sea Kayaking in Scotland)
Kayaking at Active Scotland (Various venues)
Rock Climbing and Abseiling
Abseiling Scotland (Various venues)
Rock Climbing at Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre (Skills Courses and Qualifications Courses)
Rock Climbing in Scotland (Rock Climbing Areas)
Trekking and Hiking
Gairloch Trekking Centre (Pony Trekking in the Scottish Highlands)
Pony and Quad Treks (North Wales)
Ramblers (Worldwide Holidays)
Emergency Services Link
If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone.
Spitfire Mk.Vb AR403
Wedderlie Ho., Westruther, Borders