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Dahl's works for children include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Twits and George's Marvellous Medicine. Dahl's father had emigrated to the UK from Sarpsborg in Norway, and settled in Cardiff in the 1880s with his first wife, a Frenchwoman named Marie Beaurin-Gresser.They had two children together, Ellen Marguerite and Louis, before her death in 1907.Dahl was surprised to find that he would not receive any specialised training in aerial combat, or in flying Gladiators.
Born in Wales to Norwegian immigrant parents, Dahl served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.
He became a flying ace and intelligence officer, rising to the rank of acting wing commander.
From 1929, when he was 13, Dahl attended Repton School in Derbyshire.
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.
Along with the only two other Shell employees in the entire territory, he lived in luxury in the Shell House outside Dar es Salaam, with a cook and personal servants.
While out on assignments supplying oil to customers across Tanganyika, he encountered black mambas and lions, among other wildlife.
Throughout his childhood and adolescent years, Dahl spent the majority of his summer holidays with his mother's family in Norway.
He 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 fiancé's pipe with goat droppings.
After a 600-mile (970 km) car journey from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi, he was accepted for flight training with sixteen other men, among whom only three survived the war.
With seven hours and 40 minutes experience in a De Havilland Tiger Moth, he flew solo; Dahl enjoyed watching the wildlife of Kenya during his flights.