103 Facts About Roald Dahl


Roald Dahl was a British popular author of children's literature and short stories, a poet, and wartime fighter ace.


Roald Dahl was born in Wales to affluent Norwegian immigrant parents, and spent most of his life in England.


Roald Dahl served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.


Roald Dahl became a fighter pilot and, subsequently, an intelligence officer, rising to the rank of acting wing commander.


Roald Dahl rose to prominence as a writer in the 1940s with works for children and for adults, and he became one of the world's best-selling authors.


Roald Dahl was born in 1916 at Villa Marie, Fairwater Road, in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales, to Norwegians Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Dahl.


Roald Dahl's mother belonged to a well-established Norwegian family of lawyers, priests in the state church and wealthy merchants and estate owners, and emigrated to the UK when she married his father in 1911.


Roald Dahl's maternal grandmother Ellen Wallace was a granddaughter of the member of parliament Georg Wallace and a descendant of an early 18th-century Scottish immigrant to Norway.


Roald Dahl's mother decided to remain in Wales instead of returning to Norway to live with relatives, as her husband had wanted their children to be educated in English schools, which he considered the world's best.


When he was six years old, Roald Dahl met his idol Beatrix Potter, author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit featuring the mischievous Peter Rabbit, the first licensed fictional character.


Gobstoppers were a favourite sweet among British schoolboys between the two World Wars, and Roald Dahl referred to them in his fictional Everlasting Gobstopper which was featured in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


Roald Dahl's parents had wanted him to be educated at an English public school, and this proved to be the nearest because of the regular ferry link across the Bristol Channel.


Roald Dahl wrote about his time at St Peter's in his autobiography Boy: Tales of Childhood.


From 1929, when he was 13, Roald Dahl attended Repton School in Derbyshire.


Roald Dahl disliked the hazing and described an environment of ritual cruelty and status domination, with younger boys having to act as personal servants for older boys, frequently subject to terrible beatings.


Roald Dahl expresses some of these darker experiences in his writings, which is marked by his hatred of cruelty and corporal punishment.


Roald Dahl said the incident caused him to "have doubts about religion and even about God".


Roald Dahl played sports including cricket, football and golf, and was made captain of the squash team.


Roald Dahl dreamt of inventing a new chocolate bar that would win the praise of Mr Cadbury himself; this inspired him in writing his third children's book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and to refer to chocolate in other children's books.


Roald Dahl wrote about many happy memories from those visits in Boy: Tales of Childhood, such as when he replaced the tobacco in his half-sister's fiance's pipe with goat droppings.


Roald Dahl noted only one unhappy memory of his holidays in Norway: at around the age of eight, he had to have his adenoids removed by a doctor.


Roald Dahl explains in his autobiography Going Solo that only three young Englishmen ran the Shell company in the territory, of which he was the youngest and junior.


Roald Dahl was commissioned as a lieutenant into the King's African Rifles, commanding a platoon of Askari men, indigenous troops who were serving in the colonial army.


In November 1939, Roald Dahl joined the Royal Air Force as an aircraftman with service number 774022.


Roald Dahl continued to advanced flying training in Iraq, at RAF Habbaniya, 50 miles west of Baghdad.


Roald Dahl was assigned to No 80 Squadron RAF, flying obsolete Gloster Gladiators, the last biplane fighter aircraft used by the RAF.


Roald Dahl was surprised to find that he would not receive any specialised training in aerial combat or in flying Gladiators.


On 19 September 1940, Roald Dahl was ordered to fly his Gladiator by stages from Abu Sueir to 80 Squadron's forward airstrip 30 miles south of Mersa Matruh.


Roald Dahl's skull was fractured and his nose was smashed; he was temporarily blinded.


Roald Dahl managed to drag himself away from the blazing wreckage and lost consciousness.


Roald Dahl wrote about the crash in his first published work.


Roald Dahl was rescued and taken to a first-aid post in Mersa Matruh, where he regained consciousness, but not his sight.


Roald Dahl was transported by train to the Royal Navy hospital in Alexandria.


In February 1941, Roald Dahl was discharged from the hospital and deemed fully fit for flying duties.


Roald Dahl flew a replacement Hurricane across the Mediterranean Sea in April 1941, after seven hours' experience flying Hurricanes.


Roald Dahl flew in his first aerial combat on 15 April 1941, while flying alone over the city of Chalcis.


Roald Dahl attacked six Junkers Ju 88s that were bombing ships and shot one down.


On 20 April 1941, Roald Dahl took part in the Battle of Athens, alongside the highest-scoring British Commonwealth ace of World War II, Pat Pattle, and Roald Dahl's friend David Coke.


Roald Dahl described it as "an endless blur of enemy fighters whizzing towards me from every side".


Roald Dahl says that as he and his fellow Hurricane pilots swept in:.


Roald Dahl attempted to recover his health enough to become an instructor.


Roald Dahl shared a house with another attache at 1610 34th Street, NW, in Georgetown.


Roald Dahl was unimpressed by his office in the British Air Mission, attached to the embassy.


Roald Dahl was unimpressed by the ambassador, Lord Halifax, with whom he sometimes played tennis and whom he described as "a courtly English gentleman".


The Saturday Evening Post had asked Forester to write a story based on Roald Dahl's flying experiences; Forester asked Roald Dahl to write down some RAF anecdotes so that he could shape them into a story.


Roald Dahl originally titled the article as "A Piece of Cake" but the magazine changed it to "Shot Down Over Libya" to make it sound more dramatic, although Dahl had not been shot down; it was published on 1 August 1942 issue of the Post.


Roald Dahl was promoted to flight lieutenant in August 1942.


Toward the end of the war, Roald Dahl wrote some of the history of the secret organisation; he and Stephenson remained friends for decades after the war.


Roald Dahl left the service with the substantive rank of squadron leader.


Roald Dahl married American actress Patricia Neal on 2 July 1953 at Trinity Church in New York City.


On 5 December 1960, four-month-old Theo Roald Dahl was severely injured when his baby carriage was struck by a taxicab in New York City.


Roald Dahl's death left Dahl "limp with despair", and feeling guilty about not having been able to do anything for her.


Roald Dahl took control of her rehabilitation over the next months; Neal had to re-learn to talk and walk, but she managed to return to her acting career.


In 1972, Roald Dahl met Felicity d'Abreu Crosland, niece of Lt.


In 1983 Neal and Roald Dahl divorced and Roald Dahl married Felicity, at Brixton Town Hall, South London.


Roald Dahl reportedly wanted a knighthood so that his wife would be Lady Dahl.


In 2012, Roald Dahl was featured in the list of The New Elizabethans to mark the diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.


Roald Dahl went on to write some of the best-loved children's stories of the 20th century, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Twits and George's Marvellous Medicine.


Roald Dahl had a successful parallel career as the writer of macabre adult short stories, which often blended humour and innocence with surprising plot twists.


Roald Dahl wrote more than 60 short stories; they have appeared in numerous collections, some only being published in book form after his death.


Five additional Roald Dahl stories were used in the Hitchcock series.


Roald Dahl was credited with teleplay for two episodes, and four of his episodes were directed by Alfred Hitchcock himself, an example of which was "Lamb to the Slaughter".


Roald Dahl acquired a traditional Romanichal vardo in the 1960s, and the family used it as a playhouse for his children at home in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.


Roald Dahl later used the vardo as a writing room, where he wrote Danny, the Champion of the World in 1975.


Roald Dahl incorporated a Gypsy wagon into the main plot of the book, where the young English boy, Danny, and his father, William live in a vardo.


When Roald Dahl was a boy his mother used to tell him and his sisters tales about trolls and other mythical Norwegian creatures, and some of his children's books contain references or elements inspired by these stories, such as the giants in The BFG, the fox family in Fantastic Mr Fox and the trolls in The Minpins.


Roald Dahl was famous for his inventive, playful use of language, which was a key element to his writing.


Roald Dahl invented new words by scribbling down his words before swapping letters around and adopting spoonerisms and malapropisms.


The lexicographer Susan Rennie stated that Roald Dahl built his new words on familiar sounds, adding:.


Rennie commented that some of Roald Dahl's words have already escaped his world, for example, Scrumdiddlyumptious: "Food that is utterly delicious".


Roald Dahl later disowned the film, saying he was "disappointed" because "he thought it placed too much emphasis on Willy Wonka and not enough on Charlie".


Roald Dahl was "infuriated" by the deviations in the plot devised by David Seltzer in his draft of the screenplay.


Roald Dahl met his idol, Beatrix Potter, when he was six years old.


Roald Dahl was influenced by Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.


Roald Dahl travelled to visit Thomas's hut in Carmarthenshire, Wales in the 1950s and, after taking a look inside, decided to make a replica of it to write in.


Roald Dahl liked ghost stories, and claimed that Trolls by Jonas Lie was one of the finest ghost stories ever written.


Roald Dahl always maintained that his mother and her stories had a strong influence on his writing.


Roald Dahl's memory was prodigious and nothing that ever happened to her in her life was forgotten.


In 1961, Roald Dahl hosted and wrote for a science fiction and horror television anthology series called Way Out, which preceded the Twilight Zone series on the CBS network for 14 episodes from March to July.


Roald Dahl wrote for the satirical BBC comedy programme That Was the Week That Was, which was hosted by David Frost.


Roald Dahl died on 23 November 1990, at the age of 74 of a rare cancer of the blood, myelodysplastic syndrome, in Oxford, and was buried in the cemetery at the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England.


Roald Dahl was buried with his snooker cues, some very good burgundy, chocolates, HB pencils and a power saw.


The main-belt asteroid 6223 Roald Dahl, discovered by Czech astronomer Antonin Mrkos, was named in his memory in 1996.


Welsh Arts organisations, including National Theatre Wales, Wales Millennium Centre and Literature Wales, came together for a series of events, titled Roald Dahl 100, including a Cardiff-wide City of the Unexpected, which marked his legacy.


Roald Dahl has an incredibly distinctive style: his subversive, unpredictable plots, musical prose and caustic wit are impossible to imitate.


In 2000 Roald Dahl topped the list of Britain's favourite authors.


In 2003 four books by Roald Dahl, led by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at number 35, ranked among the Top 100 in The Big Read, a survey of the British public by the BBC to determine the "nation's best-loved novel" of all time.


In surveys of UK teachers, parents and students, Roald Dahl is frequently ranked the best children's writer.


Roald Dahl is one of the most borrowed authors in UK libraries.


In 2016 Roald Dahl's enduring popularity was proved by his ranking in Amazon's the top five best-selling children's authors on the online store over the last year, looking at sales in print and on the Kindle store.


Roald Dahl is one of the company's six "British tail fin heroes", joining Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, England World Cup winner Bobby Moore, novelist Jane Austen, pioneering pilot Amy Johnson and aviation entrepreneur Freddie Laker.


Roald Dahl reviewed Australian author Tony Clifton's God Cried, a picture book about the siege of West Beirut by the Israeli army during the 1982 Lebanon War.


Roald Dahl was a man who followed whims, which meant he would blow up in one direction, so to speak.


Roald Dahl had a childish reaction to what was going on in Israel.


Roald Dahl wanted to provoke, as he always provoked at dinner.


Roald Dahl's publisher was a Jew, his agent was a Jew.


Roald Dahl asked me to be his managing director, and I'm Jewish.


In 2014, the Royal Mint decided not to produce a coin to commemorate the centenary of Roald Dahl's birth, saying that it considered him to be "associated with antisemitism and not regarded as an author of the highest reputation".


In 2020, Dahl's family published a statement on the official Roald Dahl website apologising for his antisemitism.


We hope that, just as he did at his best, at his absolute worst, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting impact of words.


In 1973, Roald Dahl posted a reply, calling Cameron's accusations "insensitive" and "monstrous".


The Horn Book published Cameron's response, where she clarified that she intended her article not to be a personal attack on Roald Dahl, but to point out that though the book is a work of fiction, it still influences reality.


Dirda's article discussed many of the other criticisms of Roald Dahl's writing, including his alleged misogyny.