Walter Peter Hughes was born in 1920, and on leaving school went to Lincoln College Oxford to read medicine. However, on the outbreak of war in 1939 he left university to join the army, serving with the Warwickshire Regiment. After the war Hughes attempted to restart his medical studies, but eventually went to work for the Ministry of Defence at the Army Personnel Research Establishment, based at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough.
Hughes was an amateur cartoonist, and in November 1954 his topical pocket cartoons began to appear in the Peterborough column of the Daily Telegraph, signed “WPH”. Approximately 180 of Hughes’ cartoons appeared in the paper before the series finished in October 1970. At the same time a series of non topical cartoons appeared in the London Evening Standard.