Walter Kennedy was born in Wapping, London, England in 1695 to Irish parents, and he worked as a burglar and pickpocket before deciding to go out to sea. Kennedy served in the British Royal Navy during the War of the Spanish Succession, and he later took part in Woodes Rogers' 1718 blockade of Nassau. However, Kennedy heard tales of Henry Every and Henry Morgan, and he began to think about becoming a pirate himself. Kennedy and several other crew members aboard the ship Buck mutinied against Captain Jonathan Bass in Havana Harbor, Cuba, killing bass and becoming pirates. Howell Davis was elected captain, and Kennedy accompanied him to West Africa. In June 1719, he was the only member of Davis' shore party on Principe to survive a Portuguese ambush, and he took over Bartholomew Roberts' ship Royal Rover after Roberts was elected the new captain of the Princess, and Kennedy decided to leave Roberts. Kennedy and his crew decided to give up piracy and sail for Ireland, but the crew got lost, and several crew members were arrested after accidentally landing in Scotland. Kennedy managed to make it to Dublin, where he opened a brothel. When a prostitute accused him of stealing, he was imprisoned, denounced as a pirate, and hanged at London's Execution Dock in 1721.