John Edward Masefield (1 June 1878-12 May 1967), was a British poet and writer, and Poet Laureate of Great Britain from 1930 until his death in 1967. He is remembered as the author of a children's classic novel The Box of Delights and a great deal of memorable poetry, including "Sea Fever".
Masefield was born at Ledbury, in Herefordshire, a rural area of England. After an education at the King's School in Warwickshire, he became an apprentice sailor and eventually a junior officer on an ocean liner. After being taken ill, he was forced to return home in 1897, and his literary career began. His first collection of poetry was Salt-Water Ballads, published in 1902. During World War I, though old enough to be exempted from military service, he went to the Western Front as a medical orderly, later publishing his own account of his experiences. He settled in Oxford, inheriting the title of Poet Laureate from a neighbour, Robert Bridges. However, it is generally considered that his best work was written before this date.