During his years in school, the Cadbury chocolate company occasionally sent boxes of new chocolates to the school to be tested by the pupils. 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 (1964), and to refer to chocolate in other children's books.
After graduating from school, Dahl’s lust for travel took him first to Canada, then to East Africa, where he worked for Shell oil company until the outbreak of World War Two.
In July 1934, Dahl joined the Shell Petroleum Company. Following two years of training in the United Kingdom, he was assigned first to Mombasa, Kenya, then to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanganyika (now part of Tanzania). 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 enlisted in the Royal Air Force at 23 years old as an aircraftman. After a 600-mile car journey to Nairobi, he was accepted for flight training with sixteen other men, of 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. He continued to advanced flying training in Iraq, 50 miles west of Baghdad. Following six months' training on Hawker Harts, Dahl was commissioned as a pilot officer in August 1940, and was judged ready to join a squadron and face the enemy.
In September 1940, Dahl received severe injuries to his head, nose and back when his Gladiator crash-landed in the Western Desert. After six months recovering from his injuries in Alexandria he returned to action, taking part in The Battle of Athens. Later, after a posting to Washington, he supplied intelligence to MI6.
In 1953 Roald Dahl married the American actress, Patricia Neal, with whom he had five children. You might remember her from commercials for Anacin and Maxim freeze dried instant coffee
He has been referred to as "one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century". His awards for contribution to literature include the 1983 World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement