Roald Dahl (13 September 1916 - 23 November 1990) was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, fighter pilot and screenwriter. Born in Wales to Norwegian parents, he served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, in which he became a flying ace and intelligence officer, rising to the rank of wing commander. Dahl rose to prominence in the 1940s, with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's best-selling authors. He has been referred to as "one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century". In 2008 The Times placed Dahl 16th on its list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". His short stories are known for their unexpected endings, and his children's books for their unsentimental, often very dark, humour.