He was a British author, trained as a civil engineer, who created the character of Doctor Dolittle, one of the classics of children's literature. Lofting was born in Maidenhead, Berkshire in January 1886 to English and Irish parents. His eldest brother was Hilary Lofting, who later became a novelist in Australia, having migrated there in 1915.
Hugh Lofting was educated at Mount St Mary's College in Spinkhill, Derbyshire. From 1905 to 1906 he studied abroad, taking classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. He travelled widely as a civil engineer, before enlisting in the Irish Guards regiment of the British Army to serve in the First World War. Not wishing to write to his children about the brutality of the war, he wrote imaginative letters which later became the foundation of the successful Doctor Dolittle novels for children. Seriously wounded in the war, in 1919 Lofting moved with his family to Killingworth, Connecticut, in the US. He was married three times and had three children, one of whom, his son Christopher, is the executor of his literary estate. Lofting commented, "For years it was a constant source of shock to me to find my writings amongst 'juveniles'. It does not bother me any more now, but I still feel there should be a category of 'seniles' to offset the epithet."