THE BIG FRIENDLY GIANT OF THE RAF
Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916. After finishing school in 1934, Roald joined Shell Petroleum and after completing his training in the UK was transferred to Africa. His role in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) was running an oil terminal as a junior member of a three-man team.
In August 1939, plans were made to round up Germans in the region where Dahl was working. He enlisted as a special constable, was given a platoon of native soldiers to command and tasked with guarding a stretch of road, arresting any escaping Germans.
In November 1939, Dahl joined the RAF as an aircraftman. He commenced his flight training in a Tiger Moth biplane, which was a bit problematic for Roald. At 6ft 5in tall, and sat on his parachute, his head poked up above the windshield making it near impossible to breathe whilst flying. Every few seconds he would have to duck his head down into the cockpit just to catch his breath!
He successfully completed his flight training, ranking 3rd out of a class of 40. The two who had scored better were actually civilian pilots before the war. In September 1940 Roald was sent to his first squadron in North Africa, flying an old Gloster Gladiator.
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