Dahl was virtually fatherless as he was born when his father was age 57 and that he died when Roald was age 3. Dahl's mother did not return to Norway,since it was her husband's wish to have their children educated in British schools which he valued as the best in the world.The great Mouse plot shows his predisposition to a mischief he never quite "shed" and kept this trait in his brahsness life long. It aserved him quite well as an "irregular" covert and flying ace.His attendance at British schools was unpleasant and often he wrote home to his mother concealing his unpleasantness,Note his work Boy...JT Christie was actually the headmaster who performed the caning as explained below.After schooling, he spent 3 weeks hiking, and was a lover of the outdoors and of nature and exerted himself in athletics prior to hiking with the PSES.
Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales in 1916, to Norwegian parents,
Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Dahl (née Hesselberg). Dahl's father had moved
from Sarpsborg in Norway and
settled in Cardiff in the 1880s, and his mother came over to marry his father in
about 1910. Roald was named after the polar
explorer Roald Amundsen, a
national hero in Norway at the time. He spoke
Norwegian at home with his parents and sisters, Astri, Alfhild, and Else. Dahl
and his sisters were christened at the Norwegian Church,
Cardiff, where their parents worshipped.
In 1920, when Roald was still
only three years old, his seven-year-old sister, Astri, died from appendicitis. Weeks later,
his father died of pneumonia at the age of 57.
Dahl's mother, however, decided not to return to Norway to live with her
relatives, but to remain in Wales since it had been her husband's wish to have
their children educated in British schools, as he
felt they were the best in the world.
Dahl first attended The Cathedral
School, Llandaff. At the age of eight, he and four of his friends were caned by the headmaster after putting a
dead mouse in a jar of sweets at the local sweet shop, which was owned by a
"mean and loathsome" old woman called Mrs Pratchett (wife of blacksmith David
Pratchett). This was known amongst the five boys as the "Great Mouse Plot of 1924".
This was Roald's own idea.
Thereafter, he was sent to several boarding schools in England, including Saint Peter's in Weston-super-Mare. His
parents had wanted Roald to be educated at a British public school and, at the
time, because of a then regular ferry link across the Bristol Channel, this
proved to be the nearest. His time at Saint Peter's was an unpleasant experience
for him. He was very homesick and wrote to his mother almost every day, but
never revealed to her his unhappiness, being under the pressure of school
censorship. Only after her death in 1967 did he find out that she had saved
every single one of his letters, in small bundles held together with green tape.
He later attended Repton School in Derbyshire,
where, according to his autobiography Boy: Tales of
Childhood, a friend named Michael was viciously caned by headmaster Geoffrey Fisher, the man
who later became the Archbishop of
Canterbury and crowned the
Queen in 1953. (However, according to Dahl's biographer Jeremy Treglown, the caning
took place in May 1933, a year after Fisher had left Repton. The headmaster
concerned was in fact J.T. Christie, Fisher's successor.) This caused Dahl to
"have doubts about religion and even about God".
was very tall, reaching 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) in adult life; he was good
at sports, being made captain of the school fives and squash teams, and also
playing for the football team. He
developed an interest in photography. During his
years there, Cadbury, the chocolate
company, would occasionally send boxes of new chocolates to the school to be
tested by the pupils. Dahl apparently used to dream of inventing a new chocolate
bar that would win the praise of Mr Cadbury himself, and this proved the
inspiration for him to write his third book for children, Charlie
and the Chocolate Factory (1963) and include references to chocolate in
other books for children.
his childhood and adolescent years, Dahl spent his summer holidays with his
mother's family in their native Norway. His childhood and first job selling
kerosene in Midsomer Norton and
surrounding villages in Somerset are the subject of his autobiographical work, Boy: Tales of
After finishing his schooling, he spent three weeks hiking
with the Public Schools' Exploring Society (now known as BSES