OVER TO YOU
Roald Dahl ( September 13th, 1916 - November 23rd, 1990 ) was born in Llandaff ( Cardiff, Wales ) from Norwegian immigrant parents. Named after Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen ( 1872 - 1928 ), his first language was Norwegian, which he spoke at home with his parents and his four sisters.
After the loss of both her elder daughter ( appendicitis, aged 7 ) and her husband ( pneumonia, aged 57 ) in 1920, Roald's mother decided to remain in Wales instead of returning to Norway to live with relatives ( her late husband had wanted their children to be educated in British schools ). Roald Dahl first attended The Cathedral School at Llandaff. Transferred to Saint Peter's boarding school in Weston - super - Mare ( Somerset, England ), were he felt homesick, he then continued his education at Repton School ( Derbyshire, England ), which he described as an environment of ritual cruelty and status domination. As amazing as it sounds, he was never seen as a particularly talented writer in his school years.
Throughout his childhood and adolescent years, Roald Dahl spent the majority of his summer holidays with his mother's family in Norway ( happy memories mostly ). After finishing his schooling, in August 1934, Roald Dahl crossed the Atlantic on the R.M.S. Nova Scotia and hiked through Newfoundland with the Public Schools Exploring Society. In 1938, he joined the Shell Petroleum Company. Following two years of training in the United Kingdom, he was assigned first to Mombasa ( Kenya ), then to Dar - es - Salaam ( Tanganyika, now part of Tanzania ).
In August 1939, as the Second World War loomed, the British made plans to round up the hundreds of Germans living in Dar - es - Salaam. Roald Dahl was commissioned as a Lieutenant into the King's African Rifles, commanding a platoon of Askari men. In November 1939, Roald Dahl joined the Royal Air Force ( R.A.F. ) and was trained as a fighter pilot in both Kenya and Iraq.
Commissioned as a Pilot Officer ( P/O, August 24th, 1940 ), he received his wings and was posted to No. 80 Squadron, flying obsolete Gloster Gladiator's biplane fighter aircraft. On September 19th, 1940, he was ordered to fly his " Kite " to his unit's forward airstrip ( Abu Sueir to Mersa Matruh, Egypt ), but could not find it. Running low on fuel and with night approaching, he was forced to attempt a landing in the desert... but the aircraft crashed. Roald Dahl survived the crash despite a fractured skull, a smashed nose and a temporary blindness. Rescued, he was taken to Mersa Matruh, then to Alexandria.
After his full recovery in February 1941, Roald Dahl was able to join his unit ( now equipped with Hawker Hurricanes ) in April. During the Second World War, he fought over Greece, Syria and Lebanon ; became an instructor ( Uxbridge, Greater London, England ) and was appointed as Assistant Air Attaché ( working as an Intelligence Officer ) in Washington, D.C. ( United States ). During his time in North America, Roald Dahl published his first work ( inspired by a meeting with C.S. Forester ) : Shot Down Over Libya ( also entitled A Piece of Cake ) on August 1st, 1942. He left the R.A.F. on August 1st, 1946, with the substantive rank of Squadron Leader ( S/Ldr ). As a fighter pilot, he was credited with 4 or 5 confirmed aerial victories.
His first children's book was The Gremlins ( published in 1943 ), about mischievous little creatures that were part of Royal Air Force folklore. In 1961, he hosted and wrote for a science fiction and horror television anthology series called Way Out, which preceded the Twilight Zone series. Roald Dahl went on to write some of the best - loved children's stories of the 20th century, and also had a successful parallel career as the writer of macabre adult short stories. His books are world famous today, sometimes much more through both film and television adaptations.
Married twice and the father of five children, Roald Dahl died of a rare cancer of the blood, myelodysplastic syndrome, in Oxford ( Oxfordshire, England ), at the age of 74.
( sources : Wikipedia, Going Solo, www.tracesofwar.com )