William (Ishmael) Spry
(Master Gunner)
Ishmael Spry has a full indepth biography Here which is interwoven with Captain Jack Vincents Profile

"Gun Powder, with Brother Ball : Hero-like doth Conquer All ! "


‘Ishmael Spry’ - also known under several aliases, including ‘Israel Hands’ - is somewhat of a rarity as he is literate ; he can read and write!    His early schooling in England and his obvious ability at sea enabled him to pass quickly from his first ‘rating’ as ordinary seaman to able seaman to qualify and reach the post aboard ship of  Warrant Officer  in serving as ‘Gunner’ and ‘Artist’ (Navigator) and aboard a pirate ship, he is one of the ‘Lords’.   A paradox and a rather ‘untypical’ pirate : when not lying semi-comatose in a drunken stupor, he  has been seen ‘reading books’ taken from captured prizes, drawing charts of ‘unknown coasts’ and - even worse - writing a personal log !   


He is briefly mentioned in The Boston Newsletter of 11th November 1711 in connection with pirate captain Major Stede Bonnet - a man deposed by Blackbeard and who stole his ship - who the paper describes after his deposition as “… having no command, he walks about in his morning gown and then to his books of which he has a good library aboard ; discoursing at length solely with a common seaman named William Hands who served him his meals.”  For time ‘Israel Hands’ continued to sail with the infamous Blackbeard but in 1717 was the subject of a drunken prank which left him almost crippled but by fortuitously joining other crewmen in ‘going on their own account’ and leaving that notorious psychopath he escaped the destruction of Blackbeard at the hands of The Royal Navy in 1718.

"Jim Hawkins" and Israel Hands re-enact their famous scene from the novel Treasure Island

A pirate named ‘Israel Hynde’ lost an arm in a fight off the coast of Africa with the Royal Navy and died in February 1722 and a ‘William Spry’ was reputedly tried for piracy and hanged in London circa 1732 … but the name ‘Israel Hands’ was immortalised from 1883 by Robert Louis Stevenson in the novel Treasure Island as the sinister seaman ‘who were Flint’s Gunner’  having his brains blown out in the foretop of the good ship Hispaniola by the youthful hero of the book, ‘Jim Hawkins’.

William (Ishmael) Spry, Although no longer a full member of the Sea Thieves Pirate Association, he is a highly valued associate of the group.