The Life of Roald Dahl

A little nonsense now and then is cherished by wise men

Early Life

September 13, 1916 Roald Dahl was born in Wales located in Great Britain. He was born into a family of many sisters and a half-older brother and half-older sister. In 1920 his father and sister Harold and Astri Dahl died his sister of an infection and his father died of pneumonia, and later his sister Asta was born that year as well.


From September 1923 until 1925, Roald attends the local Llandaff Cathedral School, an all-boys Preparatory School. During his time at Llandaff, Roald and his friends stage “the great and daring Mouse Plot" involving a local sweet shop. Roald tells the story in detail in his later 1984 memoir Boy. From 1925 Roald left Llandalf and was sent to the boarding school St. Peters Weston-super-Mare. He attended to St. Peters for four years and left in 1929 ant the age of 13. Roald left St Peter's and moved to board at Repton, a British Public School near Derby. He documents some memorable events that happened during his time at Repton in Boy, including tales of eccentric school masters, Boazers, toilet-seat warming and chocolate tasting. Students at Repton were invited to try chocolate bars for a famous company, a memory that later inspired one of Roald's most memorable book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Early Careers

In 1934 Roald left Repton and began working for Shell Oil Company. For the first couple years of his career he lived with his mother and family in Bexley, Kent, and commutes to work as a clerk in the London offices. However during his time he began writing little spoofs and sketches.

In 1939 when World War II broke out Roald left Shell and headed to Nairobi to enlist in the Royal Air Force (RAF). He was 23 at the time and learned to fly a Tiger Moth plane training alongside 15 other men his age. In Going Solo he writes: "It is a fact, and I verified it carefully later, that out of those sixteen, no fewer than thirteen were killed in the air within the next two years." he expressed how dangerous it truly was.

From Pilot to Writer

In 1940 Roald is posted to 80 Squadron, Libya to fly "Gloster Gladiators against the Italians in the Western Desert of Libya," as he says in Going Solo. In September 1940, Roald's Gladiator crashes in the Western Desert of North Africa and he receives severe injuries to his head, nose and back. He later writes about his experience in the story A Piece of Cake. After the crash, Roald is taken to the Anglo-Swiss Hospital in Alexandria, Egypt, and spends about six months recovering from the injuries. However after his crash he then decides to rejoin the (RAF) in Athens, Greece and rejoined 80 Squadron at the Elevsis. This time he is flying a Mark 1 Hurricane. Roald describes arriving to join his Squadron in Going Solo and learning that his plane is one of only 15 Hurricanes left in Greece.

In the summer of 1941, Roald Dahl and the remaining members of his Squadron are in Haifa, northern Israel when Roald begins to suffer from severe debilitating headaches as a result of his earlier crash in the Libyan desert. Unable to fly any longer, Roald is invalided home to Great Britain. There, he returns to live with his mother and after a while his first piece of writing Piece of Cake and his first book Some Time Never is published.

Patricia Neal

In 1951 Roald Dahl meets his future wife, the American actress Patricia Neal. Ptricia was well-known, having starred in The Day the Earth Stood Still. She later was casted as the wealthy matron Emily Eustace Failenson in Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961, and won an Oscar for her role in the 1963 film Hud. On July 2, 1953 Roald Dahl is married to his wife Patricia Neal the ceremony took place in New York. They later bought a house together Great Missenden and had two daughters and son Olivia, Tessa, and Theo Dahl.
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Roald Dahl's Children's Books

In 1960 A short story collection know as Kiss Kiss was published this became his third short story. Later in 1961 Roald Dahl presented Way Out a 14 episode show that ran on American TV channel CBS. Later in 1964 one of his most famous works Charlie in the Chocolate Factory was published and the birth of Ophelia Dahl. Though through all of his success his wife also received an Oscar in 1962, unfortunately in 1965 his wife suffered a series of strokes in Los Angeles. Later that same year their fifth child Lucy was born. However this never stopped Roald Dahl because after four years The Magic Finger was finally published and worked on the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, and also worked on the script for the beloved children's film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and began working on Fantastic Mr. Fox.

In the 70's Roald Dahl's Charlie in the Chocolate Factory was made into a the beloved movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This was the first time one of his works was turned into a movie and it is now a beloved and famous classic. Later in the 70's as well many more books were published including Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, The Enormous Crocodile, Switch Bitch, and My Uncle Oswald.

Roald Dahl's Most Famous Books

Some of Roald Dahl's most famous books include the BFG, Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and many more. The 1980's was when most of his children fables came to life. Though not all turned into movies most did including the BFG, Matilda, Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, and Fantastic Mr. Fox, even though Fantastic Mr. Fox was made into a movie later on.

The Sad Ending

Unfortunately like all things it must come to an end. Roald Dahl died November 23, 1990 at the age of 74. However Roald Dahl was one of the most talented of writers and even thouh the artist is gone his works live on. Every time someone picks up one of his books his legacy lives on, he is truly an artist.
Roald Dahl Biography and Interview