"A teacher called Captain Lancaster took the nine and ten-year olds"

Dahl was bullied whilst at school and suffered physical violence at the hands of his teachers, in particular a Captain Hardcastle. It is likely that he drew on his own experience to create Captain Lancaster.

Dahl frequently used his own negative experiences to create characters in his books. Miss Trunchbull in Matilda is based on a Matron he encountered whilst at Repton School.