|Dahl in his flying gear (source here)|
Dahl was 23 years old when WWII broke out in 1939. He joined the Royal Air Force and became a fighter pilot. He flew missions in Libya, Greece, and Syria, and was shot down in the Libyan desert, suffering serious injuries.. He was sent home as an invalid, after "surviving a direct hit at the Battle of Athens".
Eventually he was sent to Washington, D.C., where he was enlisted to help publicize the British war effort by writing a piece for THE SATURDAY EVENING POST. His writing career was underway. This account is from the Roald Dahl Official WEBSITE:
Roald Dahl's first book for children was not, as many suppose, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, but THE GREMLINS, a picture book published in 1943 and adapted from a script written for Disney. Walt Disney had invited the 25 year-old Roald to Hollywood, given him the use of a car and put him up at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Altogether, Dahl flew missions from April 1941, to June 1941, sometimes as often as five times a day. He was sent back to England when he began to experience terrible headaches from his old crash injuries that caused him to blackout while flying.
GOING SOLO (for ages 7th grade and up) is the sequel and continuation of his autobiography, BOY: Tales of Childhood.