In the second of his profiles of famous people with links to SE London and north Kent, Ken Tracey looks at a children's literature legend's connections with Bexley.

In 1927 when Roald Dahl was 11 he moved with his stepmother and family into Oakwood, a house in Hurst Road, Bexley at the junction with Parkwood Road.

During the war Roald was an RAF pilot and feared that his home was in a perilous position under the path of German bombers. As feared, the house was bombed and his family evacuated. Today nothing of the house remains.

While living in Bexley he wrote his first play, Double Exposure, about a photographer.

Later the talented Roald became a photographer himself and won medals from the Royal Photographic Society.

Roald was born in 1916 in Llandaff near Cardiff where his Norwegian father had a shipbroking business. By the age of three Roald had lost his mother, father and younger sister all to natural causes, leaving him with his father’s second Norwegian wife and her four children.

He was well cared for and took family holidays to visit his Norwegian grandparents. During one Roald experienced the grim 1920s medical procedures. He was taken to the doctors where a scalpel was thrust into his mouth and amid excruciating pain his adenoids were removed without anaesthetic.

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While living in Bexley, Roald attended Repton, a public school near Derby. This fashioned his familiar persona as an English gent, but he suffered sadistic punishments from the headmaster and formidable prefects, and forever after condemned the practice of corporal punishment.

These dark experiences may well have influenced his choice of child hating witches and other macabre characters in his later works.

After Repton, Roald joined the Shell Company to work in East Africa. His contract was disrupted by the war, so he enlisted and didn’t return to live in Bexley again.

He married twice and had five children. In 1990 he died of a blood disease in Oxford. His snooker cues were buried with him.

September 13 is Roald Dahl Day, celebrated on the anniversary of his birthday.