The Marie-Henriette was a Belgian packet boat built by John Cockerill S.A. of Hoboken, Antwerp based on designs of earlier packet steamers from William Denny and Brothers of Dumbarton. The ships were owned by the Belgian government to run on the Dover – Ostend packet route. The ship developed a speed of 16 knots and achieved a speed record. She gained the reputation as the fastest vessel on the route. A drive shaft broke regularly but by dampening them in double oil baths after annealing, the fractures could be avoided. The dining room was decorated in a Flemish style with the use of artistic glass windows. She was black in hull and had a low, long white superstructure, two masts and widely spaced beige chimneys. She had covered blades on both sides. She was named after the wife of King Leopold II of Belgium. At the start of the WWI most Belgian packet boats were transferred to Great Britain where they were camouflaged. The “Marie-Henriette” was painted on the white-blue-grey-black camouflage in jagged lanes. On October 24, 1914, she ran on the rocks at Barfleur transporting 650 wounded men. The captain had not been informed that the harbour lights had been extinguished.