Death of Harald and Astri


Roald Dahl's father Harald and older sister Astri die; his younger sister Asta is born



In February 1920 Roald Dahl's older sister Astri dies from an infection following a burst appendix, aged seven.

Weeks later, Roald's father Harald dies of pneumonia at the age of 57. Roald describes his death in Boy, saying: "[Astri's] sudden death left him literally speechless for days afterwards. He was so overwhelmed with grief that when he himself went down with pneumonia a month or so afterwards, he did not much care whether he lived or died."

This tragic series of events leaves Roald's mother, Sofie Magdalene, with five children in her care: Roald and his two sisters, Alfhild and Else, plus Harald's children by his first marriage, Ellen and Louis. At the time of her husband's death she was also pregnant with Roald's younger sister, Asta, born in the autumn of 1920. 

So at the age of 35, Sofie is left to face the prospect of bringing up six children on her own, and at some considerable distance from Norway, the country of her own birth.

Roald Dahl wrote about his childhood in Boy

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