Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl (1916 - 1990)

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Roald Dahl
Born in Llandaff, Cardiff, Walesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of [half], [half], , [half], and [private sister (1920s - unknown)]
Husband of — married (to ) in New Yorkmap
Husband of [private wife (1930s - unknown)]
Descendants descendants
Father of , [private daughter (1950s - unknown)], [private son (1960s - unknown)], [private daughter (1960s - unknown)] and [private daughter (1960s - unknown)]
Died in Oxford, Oxfordshire, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 4 Nov 2014
This page has been accessed 12,749 times.

Categories: Cardiff, Wales | Oxford, Oxfordshire | Famous Authors of the 20th Century | The Cathedral School, Llandaff, Cardiff | World War II Celebrity Spies | World War II British Spies | This Day In History September 13 | This Day In History November 23 | Notables.

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Roald Dahl was a British Spy in World War II.



Early Life and Education

Roald was born in 1916 to Norweigian parents, Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene (Hesselberg) Dahl.

He had three sister, Astri, Alfhild and Else.

In 1920 Roald's elder sister Astri died from appendicitis at the age of seven. Weeks later his father succumbed to pneumonia while on a fishing trip in the Antarctic.

Dahl first attended Elmtree Primary school but had few memories of his year there.

At the age of seven Dahl attended The Cathedral School in Llandaff, Cardiff. His book, Boy, includes some memories of his time here, most notably the Great Mouse Plot of 1924.

He attended St Peter's, a boarding school in Weston-super-Mare and later Repton School, Derbyshire.


In 1939 Dahl was made a lieutenant in the Kings African Rifles and later joined the Royal Air Force as an aircraftman. After being assigned to No. 80 Squadron RAF and finding himself flying a obsolete Gloster Gladiator without any specialised training Dahl crashed his aircraft attempting a landing in the desert due to low fuel. He fractured his skull and was temporarily blinded.

Within two years he was declared fit for flying duties and participated in the Battle of Athens alongside Pat Pattle. Five of the twelve Hawker Hurricanes were shot down during the battle, including the plane flown by Pattle, who did not survive.

Roald was recruited to be a British spy by BSC (British Security Coordination) along with Ian Fleming. [1] Following Pearl Harbor, he helped persuade the United States to join with Britain in the War against Germany. Dahl befriended US politicians, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. [2]

Later in 1941 Dahl began to suffer from severe headaches which caused him to black out. He was invalided home to Britain.

Marriage and Family

Dahl Married American actress Patricia Neal on July 2nd 1953 in New York City.

They had five children, Olivia Twenty, Chantal Tessa Sophia, Theo Matthew, Ophelia Magdalena and Lucy Neal.

An injury to the infant Theo Dahl in 1960 caused Dahl to become involved in the development of the WDT valve, a cerebral shunt to alleviate hydrocephalus. Though Theo had sufficiently recovered from his injury by the time the device was perfected, several thousand children benefited from the valve.

After the death of his seven year old daughter, Olivia, from measles encephalitis in 1962 Dahl became a proponent of immunisation. He dedicated the BFG to Olivia in 1982.

in 1965 Patricia suffered three burst cerebral aneurysms while pregnant with their final child, Lucy. Dahl rehabilitated his wife and over time she relearned to walk and talk. The film "The Patricia Neal Story" focuses on this period of their lives.

After thirty years of marriage Dahl and Neal divorced and Dahl married Felicity Crosland.


Dahl is most famous for his children's books but also wrote for adults, often these were short stories with suprising endings.

Some of his best known children's stories include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The witches, Matilda and Fantastic Mr Fox.

His wide range of work includes poetry, screenplays and non-fiction as well as novels and short stories.

Many of Dahls books have been adapted for stage and screen.


Roald Dahl died on November 23rd, 1990 of Myelodysplastic syndrome. He is buried at St Peter and St Paul's Church, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.


The Roald Dahl Children's Gallery was opened in November 1996 at the Buckingham County Museum.

The Oval Basin Plaza in Cardiff was renamed Roald Dahl Plass in 2002

The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden was opened in 2005.

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize, an annual award to authors of humorous children's fiction was inaugurated in 2008.

In 2009, the first of several Blue plaques in Dahl's honour was unveiled by Felicity and Theo.

"Roald Dahl Day" is celebrated on the anniversery of Dahl's birth in the UK, Africa and Latin America.

A set of 6 stamps was issued by the Royal mail in 2012 featuring Quentin Blake's illustraions for six of Dahl's best-loved children's works.


  1. Roald Dahl'a seductive work as a British Spy
  2. History.Com 6 People you didn't know were Spies


"England and Wales, Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008", index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 04 Nov 2014), Roald Dahl, 1916.


"England and Wales, Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005", index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 04 Nov 2014), Felicity A Crosland and null, 1983.

"England and Wales, Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005", index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 04 Nov 2014), Roald Dahl and null, 1983.


"England and Wales, Death Registration Index 1837-2007", index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 04 Nov 2014), Roald Dahl, 1990.

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No known carriers of Roald's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Roald is 27 degrees from Rosa Parks, 23 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 11 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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