Walter Kennedy (pirate)
|ca. 1695 – July 21, 1721|
|Place of birth||Ireland|
|Place of death||Execution Dock, Wapping, England|
|Years active||ca. August 1718 - July 21, 1721|
|Base of operations||Caribbean Sea and West Africa|
|Commands||Frigate Royal Rover|
Kennedy served in the Royal Navy during the War of Spanish Succession, where he heard tales of pirates from Henry Morgan to Henry Every, and dreamed of becoming a pirate himself. He was a crew member on the sloop-of-war Buck, part of the fleet that Woodes Rogers took to the Bahamas in 1718 to suppress piracy there. Woodes sent the Buck to Havana with a letter for the Spanish governor assuring that official that he was not a pirate, but was in Nassau to suppress piracy. Some recently pardoned pirates were added to the crew of the Buck, and before it reached Havana they, along with some of the original crew, including Kennedy, mutinied, killing the captain, Jonathan Bass, and other crew members who did not join the mutiny.
Howell Davis, another mutineer, was elected captain. Kennedy was with Davis on the island of Principe when his party was ambushed by the Portuguese. He was the only member of the shore party to escape back to the ship alive. With Davis dead, Bartholomew Roberts was elected as his successor. When Roberts and forty of the crew chased a possible prize in a captured sloop off the coast of Surinam, Kennedy was left in charge of Roberts' ship, the Royal Rover, and a large part of its crew. He took advantage of this to abandon Roberts and proclaim himself captain.
Kennedy headed for Ireland, but having no skill in navigation landed on the north-west coast of Scotland instead. Seventeen of the crew were arrested near Edinburgh and put on trial for piracy, with nine of them being hanged. Kennedy himself was able to reach London where he is said to have kept a brothel in the Deptford Road. When one of his prostitutes accused him of theft, he was sent to the Bridewell Prison, where he was denounced as a pirate by the mate of a ship he had taken. Kennedy was transferred to the Marshalsea prison and put on trial for piracy. He was hanged at Execution Dock on July 21, 1721.
- Rediker, Marcus. "Who Will Go a Pyrating?". Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age. Beacon Press. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
- Cordingly, David. (1995) Life among the pirates Abacus. ISBN 0-349-11314-9
- Woodard, Colin. (2007) The Republic of Pirates. Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-15-101302-9
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