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

He was voiced by the late John Hurt, who also played the Horned King in Disney's The Black CauldronMr. Mole in Don Bluth's Thumbelina, and the TV version of General Woundwort in Watership Down.


When he first appeared, Sailor John was shown to be acting friendly and gently, having a sense of adventure in him. He also shown to be obsessed with finding the treasure. When Thomas told Sailor John about the treause was going to the museum, he reveals his true colors: sinister, greedy, ruthless, and manipulative. He is also harmful and threatening to anyone when attempting to keep the treasure for himself at all cost. Sailor John has a habbit and hobby of being abusive 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.
We Make A Team Together - Sailor John Version

We Make A Team Together - Sailor John Version

Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure

Kicked out of the navy, Sailor John retired to the Island of Sodor. During his time on the island, he learned about the sodor treasure and became obsessed with finding it. Sometime around, he also met and 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 Shovel 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, even though he had apparently always told Skiff they would give it to the museum.

The treasure is given to Sir Topham Hatt to put in a safe in his office overnight. Sailor John arrives at Knapford Station that night with Skiff, uses dynamite to destroy the entire 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 revealing another bundle of dynamite. Laughing maniacally, Sailor John attempts to kill Thomas by throwing the dynamite at him. Skiff shifts enough to make Sailor John lose his aim, but they eventually reach the water. When they arrive at the harbor, Thomas crashes into the water, unable to chase him. The treasure threatens to sink Skiff, and Sailor John refuses to jettison it 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's uncertain what became of him, but it's likely he spends the rest of his life in jail. With Sailor John behind bars, not only was the treasure, which was resurfaced by Captain the boat and scuba divers, safe from the treacherous pirate, but Skiff was no longer his slave and didn't have to be abused anymore and was now given a new captain and finally able to give children rides.


Whoa Skiff! Stop that! Stop bobbing about! I'm trying to see what's going on!
~ Sailor John's introduction when he tells Skiff to stay steady
Who are you? What are you doing sneaking about after me?
~ Sailor John meets Thomas for the first time
My name's John. Sailor John.
~ Sailor John introducing himself to Thomas
I found it! (Thomas and Skiff: The treasure?) No! The map!
~ Sailor John finds the map in the ship
Where's my treasure?! (Thomas: Sir Topham Hatt (The Fat Controller) has it. He's giving it to the museum.) Sailor John: Museum?! What museum! I haven't been searching all this time to see that treasure end up in a museum! It's for me! (Skiff: But you always said we were going to give it to the museum! Sailor John: (Stamps on Skiff's deck, growling) Get my treasure back, Thomas! (Thomas: No, Sailor John! That treasure didn't belong to you and it didn't belong to the pirates! It was stolen! So it's going to the museum, and that's the end of it.) (Chuffing forwards) Sailor John: I will not be pushed aside! Hold firm, Skiff! (Shunted into a siding) Ahh! (Skiff: Sorry, Thomas!) Sailor John: (Jumping on Skiff's deck) I WANT MY TREASURE!
~ Sailor John reveals his true nature when he reveals to be keeping the treasure for himself
You'll have to catch me first!
~ Sailor John runs away from Thomas when successfully gets the treasure
Oh dear Thomas! Red Light!
~ Sailor John mocking Thomas
Superior sail power Thomas! You'll never catch me now!
~ Sailor John steals the pirate ship for speed
What? Those little engines?
~ Sailor John mocking the little engines
Sink me!
~ Sailor John swearing after the ship slows down
Oh no! We're losing power Skiff! You little engines!
~ Sailor John cursing the little engines for slowing down the ship
So long, Thomas! It's been a blast!
~ Sailor John about to blow up Thomas, only for Skiff to knock it off
Treachery! Mutiny! I won't stand for it! I'll have you at the dry dock Skiff! And take away your sail!
~ Sailor John revealing who he truly in front Skid
Sail on, Skiff! One more word of mutiny, and you'll be driftwood, mark my words!
~ Sailor John attempting to threat Skiff again
But I'm innocent I tell ya!
~ Sailor John see the police ready to arreast him
You've got the wrong pirate!
~ Sailor John's last lines before he is arrested.



  • Sailor John is the first Thomas the Tank Engine villain to be human (not counting the deleted character P.T. Boomer), as well as the second to appear exclusively in a special (as Diesel 10 would make later appearances and both Diesel and Arry & Bert made previous appearances), with the first being Splatter & Dodge.
  • Sailor John is easily the most dangerous and evil of all Thomas the Tank Engine villains, as, while Diesel 10 threatened to kill Mr. Conductor, Junior and James and tried to destroy Lady, Sailor John managed to blow up Sir Topham Hat's office using dynamite and then tried to kill everyone who opposed him afterwards, making him far more evil.
  • Sailor John was named after his late voice actor John Hurt.
  • Due to John Hurt's death in 2017, it is unlikely that he will be making any appearances in any upcoming seasons.