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Treachery! Mutiny! I won't stand for it! I'll have you in the dry-dock, Skiff, and take away your sail!
~ Sailor John revealing his true traitorous nature.

Sailor John is the main antagonist of the 2015 Thomas and Friends special Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure. He is a former navy officer-turned-pirate and the former owner of Skiff.

He was voiced by the late John Hurt, who also played the Horned King in The Black CauldronCaligula in I Claudius, Mr. Mole in Thumbelina, Lord Cotys in Hercules, Harry in Pride, Adam Sutler in V For Vendetta, Claudandus in Felidae, Percival Graves in King Ralph, and General Woundwort in Watership Down.


When he first appeared, Sailor John was shown to be friendly, cheerful and adventurous and had a very funny sense of humor. He seems enjoyed sailing out in the seas and enjoyed his traveling around. But during his time, he also shown to be obsessed about finding the treasure and shown to be mysterious when along came out at night.

Also, he always seems to reprimand to Skiff for his simple mistakes. However, this would soon turn about to be a facade to hide his true nature: a sinister, selfish, greedy, manipulative, and savage pirate who is willing to get away with treasure at all costs.

He also demonstrates an abusive side towards Skiff, initially demonstrated through his apathy of making Skiff constantly swallow sea water. Once Skiff becomes aware of his true intentions, Sailor John forces Skiff to act as his getaway vehicle. In the climax, he also repeatedly threatens to dismantle Skiff, should he continue to protest and counter him.

Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure

Sailor John was kicked out of the navy for unknown reasons (most likely by abusing his power, judging his personality), so he retired to the Island of Sodor. During his time on the island, he learned about Captain Callus' treasure and became obsessed with finding it. Sometime around, he also found Skiff, whom he used to help him find the treasure. Since he figured the police or anyone else in charge of the island would suspect what he was up to, Sailor John would only come on the island at night Sailor John first appears in the narrative while watching over the uncovering of the lost ship through his spyglass, atop Skiff. Fitting Skiff with wheels, Sailor John travels out to the site of the new branch line's construction. He receives help from Thomas, taking advantage of the tank engine's desire to be helpful. With Thomas' help, Sailor John uncovers the map leading to the treasure. Unfortunately for him, the treasure had been dug up by Marion the Steam Crane and transported to Sir Topham Hatt's office, under his care. When Thomas reveals that the treasure will be taken to the museum, Sailor John becomes enraged, declaring that the treasure is "rightfully his" after years of searching.

That night, Sailor John uses dynamite to break into Sir Topham Hatt's office and steals the treasure. He also reveals that he has stolen the old ship and reworked it into a large escape vehicle. Thomas gives chase and, getting help from both the new engine Ryan and the Arlesdale engines, the large ship is derailed. Escaping with the treasure aboard Skiff, Sailor John throws everything else aboard Skiff at Thomas to ward him off, eventually attempting to kill Thomas with another bundle of dynamite. Skiff shifts enough to keep the dynamite from hitting Thomas, but they eventually reach the water. When they arrived at the seaside village, Thomas crashes into the water, unable to chase him. The treasure threatens to sink Skiff, and Sailor John refuses to throw it overboard to save themselves. Fed up with Sailor John's mistreatment and threats, Skiff uses a wave to knock the treasure into the ocean. Sailor John tries to hold onto the treasure chest, but loses his grip and it stinks to the bottom, leaving him with no choice but swim back up to the surface. By the time morning came, the police arrived and arrest Sailor John for his crimes. It is uncertain what became of him, but it is likely that he spends the rest of his life in jail. With Sailor John behind bars, not only was the treasure, who was resurfaced by Captain the boat and scuba divers, safe from the treacherous pirate, but Skiff was no longer his slave and did not had to be abused anymore and was now given a new captain named Joe and gave children rides.



  • Thomas - Former Ally turned enemy and attempted victim
  • Skiff - Former Minion turned Enemy




  • Sailor John is the first Thomas villain to be a human (not counting the deleted character P.T. Boomer).
  • Sailor John is also the second Thomas villain in a special since Diesel 10 in Thomas and the Magic Railroad. However, Sailor John would do anything to get away, making him the most evil of the Thomas characters, maybe even more evil than Diesel 10.
  • Sailor John was John Hurt's last villainous role and animated voice acting role before his death on January 25, 2017, which was also named after him.
  • Sailor John made a cameo appearance in the 2018 special Big World! Big Adventures! as he appears at a cafe in San Francisco.
  • In the Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure book, after Sailor John steals the treasure, he called himself "Pirate John" after he steals the treasure, but he did not call himself Pirate John in the actual special. However, he says "You've got the wrong pirate!", meaning he still thinks he is a pirate.
  • It's implied that John is related to the pirate, Captain Calles, which is why he thinks the treasure belongs to him.
  • Sailor John is possibly the darkest Thomas villain in the series, as he would go as far as commit terrorism and attempted murder to get what he wants, which Diesel 10 also did in Thomas and The Magic Railroad but only once.
  • It is very possible that Sailor John was inspired by the iconic anti-hero pirate Long John Silver from Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island, as his name is very similar to Long John Silver's name, however while Long John Silver had redeeming qualities, Sailor John doesn't seem to have any.


           Thomas and Friends Logo USA.png Villains

Troublesome Trucks | Diesel | Arry and Bert | Diesel 10 | Spencer | Sailor John | Vinnie | Frankie | Hurricane | Baz and Bernie

Zorran | Bluenose | Johnny Cuba