1. Roald Dahl as a RAF pilot. 2. Roald Dahl with his dogs. 3. Roald Dahl with his siblings. 4. Roald Dahl as a kid.

Interview of Roald Dahl


Roald Dahl was born September 13, 1916 in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales, UK. His parents were Harald Dahl and Sophie Magdalene Dahl. He had four sisters, Asta Dahl, Astri Dahl, and Else Dahl, and Alfhild Dahl. He also had a brother, Louis Dahl. Roald Dahl was named after a Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen. His earliest education was in Llandaff Cathedral School. After a bad beating for a practical joke, he went to St. Peter's a British boarding school. He then went to Repton Boarding School for the education they provided. When Roald hardly excelled in school, his mother offered to pay his tuition at Cambridge University when he graduated from high school , but he wanted to get a job in a faraway land, like Africa or China. In his autobiography, he wrote "No thank you. I want to go straight from school to work for a company that will send me to wonderful faraway places like Africa or China."

Roald Dahl with his children and wife.


Shell Oil Company

In the September of 1934, he wanted to apply for a job at Shell Oil Company. There were more than a hundred applicants competing for only five openings. Some of his teachers doubted that he will be hired because of his mediocre grades. Even though his teachers said he won't get in, but he was lucky enough to actually get the job. Before working at the oil company, he wanted to travel to new lands, so instead of joining with his family for the annual Norway trip, he decided to join a group called the Public Schools' Explorer Society. He traveled to the island of Newfoundland, Canada with about fifty students and four adults. After returning back to England, Roald Dahl worked as an Eastern Staff trainee for the Shell Oil Company. The company needed the employees to have several years of training before sending them off to other countries to complete assignments. One day in 1938, the company said they were going to send Dahl to Africa for a three-year stint.

RAF Pilot

Roald Dahl in his RAF Pilot suit

On September 1, 1939, war broke out between Poland and Germany. When World War II started Dahl kept working at the Shell Oil Company, however, Dar es Salaam had recruited about fifteen Englishmen to serve as temporary night army officers. As a officer, he commanded a group of native troops from the King's African Rifles. Dahl and his group were assigned to guard the roads at night so the German inhabitants cannot leave. Dahl thought he could better serve his country by becoming a fighter pilot instead. In November 1939, he left the Shell Oil Company and went to the Royal Air Force (RAF) base in Nairobi, Kenya. He started training there to become a pilot. Doctors noted that Dahl's six-foot-six-inch body will have to cram into a tiny cockpit, but Dahl was still accepted into the pilot training. In December 1939, the RAF made him a leading aircraftman. They had eight weeks of training that followed. Dahl was in a group of sixteen men who came to Africa because of their jobs. For training, they learned how to fly a small biplane called the De Havilland Tiger Moth. Dahl found it thrilling to fly a plane even though he had to squeeze through a tiny space just to get in the cockpit. After about seven hours of training, the instructor said he could fly alone. During training, he flew through the grassland savannas of Kenya, he would look down and see many animals, trees and plants. At the end of the training, they went to an RAF base in Iraq for six more months of more advanced training. At the RAF base the men flew more powerful planes called Hawker Harts. They had machine guns mounted on their wings and they were bigger.

Hawker Harts

In August 1940, Dahl completed his pilot training. He was assigned to fly a single-engined plane as a fighter pilot, he was also promoted to the rank pilot officer. In September, he was assigned to join 80 Squadron, which was skirmishing with Italian forces. On September 19, 1940, Dahl was sent off in a biplane called the Gloster Gladiator. He flew the plane to and RAF base in Fouka, Libya. The commander gave coordinates of where the squadrons are, but when Dahl got there, there was no trace of a squadron base there. Dahl realized he did not have enough fuel to fly back Fouka, so he forced a crash landing. When he opened his eyes, he was in the enemies' hospital. After he recovered, he went back to being a fighter pilot. He was then promoted to a Flight Lieutenant. After a few weeks of going back, he would suddenly blank out when he was flying his plane and would be unconscious for a few seconds. The RAF said it was too dangerous for Dahl to fly, so he quit his career as a RAF pilot in World War II.

Writing career

Some of Roald Dahl's books.

Around 1942, a British novelist, C.S. Forester, wanted to interview Roald Dahl about his time as a RAF pilot. He invited Dahl to lunch and interviewed him. Dahl and Forester got together so well they started talking off-purpose. At the end of the meal, Forester realized he didn't have enough information about the crash to write an article. Dahl offered to make notes about his experience, but instead, he brought back a written story. Forester told Dahl that he was a gifted writer, Forester expected notes, but he got a story. Forester published the story Dahl wrote on The Post. Then his writing career started. After writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he got reports back that his books were wonderful and interesting. Later, he spent four hours each day writing ideas and story in a notebook. He then wrote many children books including The BFG (1982), Matilda (1988), The Witches (1983), The Twits (1980), James and the Giant Peach (1961), Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970), George's Marvelous Medicine (1981), Danny, the Champion of the World (1975), Boy (1984), Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (1972), and many more. He also wrote a lot of adult book like Kiss Kiss (1960), Someone Like You (1953), Tales of the Unexpected (1979), Switch B**** (1974), and a lot more.


Roald Dahl's Grave in St. Peter and St. Paul's Church.

When Roald Dahl was 74, he died with a rare blood disease called myelodysplastic syndrome on November 23, 1990 in Oxford. After his death, he was buried in the cemetery at St. Peter and St. Paul's Church in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England.



Smart, gifted, imaginative, brave

Husband of Patricia Neal, dad of four children

Who loved humor and reading

Who hated his family members dying, loved to make jokes, and loved to write

Who feared he will die in war, feared his writing career is going to end, and feared that his country is going to be taken over

Who changed children literature and reading popularity

Who wanted his family to be safe and away from war and wanted to be an author

Born in Llandaff, Cardiff, United Kingdom and lived in Dar es Salaam and Llandaff



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Smith Research Fellow, Centre for Memory, Imagination and Invention, Deakin University, Michelle. “'Offensiveness' and Children's Books: Censoring 'Slut' from a Roald Dahl Classic.” The Conversation, 27 Jan. 2017, Accessed 2 Mar. 2017.


Created with images by frankieleon - "Shell Oil"

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