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105 not out for smiling Rupert as he hits milestone

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 13, 2014

  • Rupert Cliff will be turning 105 next week. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

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RUPERT Cliff is grinning from ear to ear as he knows he has joined an elite club with very few members.

Today the Burton-born man celebrates his 105th birthday surrounded by family and friends in Australia, where he still, to this day, lives on his own in a granny flat in a suburb of south-east Queensland called Ipswich.

The sprightly centenarian puts his longevity down to his daily consumption of porridge and an aversion to water, as well as his love for dancing.

The great-grandfather was born in Burton in 1909, and the 105-year-old acquired a taste of beer following in his upbringing in the home of brewing.

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“I used to drink a certain amount of beer until I discovered Johnnie Walker and cranberry juice, which was quite nice,” he said.

“These days I mainly drink milk. I will have a warm milk to settle the stomach before bed.”

Mr Cliff was the only child of the union between his mother and father but had two older half-sisters, Ivy and Gertrude, who have long since died.

He left school at 14 to become a sheet metal worker and eventually went to work in a car factory, where he was making a living when war broke out.

He can still remember the day when the air raid sirens went off – and he came very close to being blown up by a hovering German bomber.

“Overhead, I saw the biggest aeroplane I had ever seen in my life – it was a Dornier bomber,” Mr Cliff said.

“I watched as the bombs came down – I was still running as they hit the ground.

“I remember bits of railway line and stuff going everywhere.- I could see all the colours of the rainbow.”

Mr Cliff married his childhood sweetheart Margaret around the outbreak of the Second World War and the pair had one child called Roderick.

He jokingly said he and his wife had only enough money to have one child.

His son and his wife moved to Australia in the early 1970s but kept in close contact with Mr Cliff, often flying across the world to visit.

When Margaret died about five years ago, aged 94, Mr Cliff decided to move to Australia permanently and he has lived there ever since.

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