Who is Roald Dahl?

Roald Dahl is probably one of the world’s most famous children’s authors of all time.

He was born on 13th September 1916 in Llandaff, Cardiff and both his parents were Norwegian. He had three sisters, Astri, Alfhild and Else and they spent their summer holidays visiting their grandparents in Oslo.

Roald was only three when his father, Harald, died of pneumonia, followed quickly by his sister Astri, 7, who died from appendicitis.

In 1939, Roald Dahl became a lieutenant in the King’s African Rifles corps (an East African regiment of the British Army) before later joining the Royal Air Force. He became a World War II fighter pilot and in 1940 whilst serving in Egypt, Dahl crash landed and sustained serious injuries to his skull, hip and spine.

Over the next two year Dahl took part in numerous aeriel combats but in 1942 he started getting severe headaches which made him blackout and he was sent back to Britain.

In 1942, he went to work as a diplomat in Washington DC. He was recruited by Spymaster, William Stephenson where he provided intelligence information to MI6 from Washington.

One of the other men he worked alongside was Ian Fleming, who most people know as the creator of James Bond.

Dahl finally left the Royal Air Force in 1946.

Whilst he worked in Washington D.C. he met Cecil Scott Forrester, a fellow author of naval tales. who encouraged Dahl to start writing stories.

Dahl wrote many short adult stories, and in 1942, wrote his first children’s story book called The Gremlins for Walt Disney, but it was not a success.

In 1953 Dahl married a film actress named Patricia Neal, they had five children, one whom tragically died in 1962.

Dahl would tell his children bedtime stories and this inspired him to write children’s book. In 1961 Dahl’s first children’s book was published and it was called James and the Giant Peach.

In 1964 he published another popular and famous story called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Many of Roald Dahl’s books have been made into well loved films.

In 1983, after Roald Dahl divorced his first wife he went on to marry Felicity Crosland.

On 23rd November 1990 Roald Dahl died from myeldysplastic syndrome, which is a type of blood disease, he was 74 years old.

He is buried in Buckinhampshire, at the cemetery of St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Great Missenden. He wanted to be buried with some of his favourite things which included a power saw, HB pencils, chocolate, red wine and his snooker cues.

Roald Dahl wrote 19 Children’s books in total and nine short story collections. He had started writing another sequel to the Charlie and Chocolate Factory series but he passed away before completing it.