100 not out

SIBLING rivalry can be a powerful force, but extending it beyond the grave takes it to a new level.

When North Fremantle resident Percy Marchant celebrated his 100th birthday on Monday, he was quick to point out that he’d outlasted his older brother, who’d fallen just eight weeks short of his ton.

When the pair were born in Beaconsfield, the area was predominantly dairy farms and the local hotel the hub of social activity.

Mr Marchant says of his long life, the war years stand out the most.

• Percy Marchant celebrates his 100th with his family Sylvia Marchant, Rachel Wright, Malcolm Vivian and Jane Bray, and Regis manager Sally Kalaiarasu. Photo by Steve Grant

He’d joined the air force as soon as WWII was declared and was in the ground crew at Darwin harbour the day 242 Japanese aircraft attacked the town, killing around 250 people.

“It was a cloudless day when the Japanese bombers flew over,” Mr Marchant said. We shot down about 20 of them,” he says, but that was only after the bombs started falling; originally they thought they were allied reinforcements.

“The order was given to the population to get as far south as possible.”

Mr Marchant now lives at the Regis aged care facility in North Fremantle.

by STEVE GRANT

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