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Swiftsure (1811 brig)
Career Flag of France.svg France
Name: Inconstant
Launched: 1811
Career Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Name: Swiftsure
Fate: Wrecked c. 1831
General characteristics [1]
Tons burthen: 337 tons (bm)
Draught: 14 ft (4.3 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Brig

Swiftsure was built in 1811 as Inconstant. At some point British owners purchased her. Swiftsure was wrecked off the coast of Queensland in 1831.

Note: This is not the Inconstant that carried Napoleon from exile on Elba to the Hundred Days.[2] That was another brig Inconstant, of roughly the same size as Swiftsure, and also launched in 1811. However, the vessel that transported Napoleon belonged to the French Navy, and was broken up at Brest in 1843.[3]


Swiftsure was built in 1811 for a French owner as the single-decked brig-rigged Inconstant.[1] By 1820, Inconstant was under British ownership under the name Swiftsure. Lloyd's Register for 1820 gives the name of her master as I. Nicholls, and her owner as Nicholls & Co. Her trade is Greenock-St Thomas.[4]

By 1828 Swiftsure was sailing between the United Kingdom, New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land.[5]


Sometime before 10 July 1831, she was wrecked in the Torres Strait 3.8 nautical miles (7 km) off the Cape York Peninsula, near the mouth of the Lockhart River.[2][6]

The wreck of Swiftsure was discovered in November 2014. The discovery was officially announced in June 2015.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Lloyd's Register of Shipping". Lloyd's of London. 1830. p. 584. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ferrier, Tracey. "Napoleon's getaway ship 'found in Queensland'". MSN News Australia. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  3. Winfield and Roberts (2015), p.218.
  4. Lloyd's Register (1811), Seq. №S971.
  5. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 2 June 1828. 
  6. "(untitled)". 24 November 1831. 


  • Winfield, Rif & Stephen S Roberts (2015) French Warships in the Age of Sail 1786 - 1861: Design Construction, Careers and Fates. (Seaforth Publishing). ISBN 9781848322042

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