Roald Dahl was known for his many popular children’s books. Some of his works, “James and the Giant Peach,” “Matilda,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” have been read or watched by millions everywhere.
Some diehard fans have also read his autobiographical piece, “Going Solo.” Those who have know one little known fact about the great children’s writer. He was a fighter pilot in WWII for the Royal Air Force, fighting against the Axis forces.
Early Life of Roald Dahl
Dahl completed school and took a hiking trip through Newfoundland. After, he began working fo the Shell Petroleum Company. He trained for two years in Britain before being assigned to Kenya.
He worked in Tanzania which was a former German colony where many Germans still lived and worked. By 1939, Britain could see that World War II was imminent.
As a counter measure, they took all the Germans living in the region so there wouldn’t be an uprising. At that point, Dahl became a member of the King’s African Rifles and became a lieutenant. He was in charge of a platoon of askari soldiers.
Soon after he became an aircraftsman in the RAF. He went 600 miles to Nairobi for pilot training. There were 16 men in training with him, only three survived the war.
He flew his first flight only seven hours and forty minutes after instruction. He trained for six months outside of Baghdad on Hawker Harts. In 1940, he was officially made a pilot officer.
RAF Figher Pilot
He flew the biplane fighter Gloster Gladiator with the 80 Squadron RAF. He did not receive any official training on the plane, yet he was ordered to fly it from Abu Seir to Mersa Matruh.
He ran low on fuel and crash landed in the desert sustaining multiple injuries, including a skull fracture. He was rescued by friendlies and taken to the hospital.
When he was released he went to Athens and flew a Hawker Hurricane. After seven hours of training, he flew the plane to Greece, without incident. He fought in the Battle of Athens. Dahl was given credit for a single kill.
When the Germans neared Athens, Dahl and his No. 80 Squadron went to Egypt, flying missions and shooting down fighter planes. His records qualified him as a fighter ace. He was invalided out of the RAF with the rank of squadron leader.