The magazine. "The Athenian Lyre". A journal of the members of the N.Z. Expeditionary Force on board H.M.N.Z. Transport Ship No 11; The Athenic. Published in 1914 and was specific just to that particular troopship.  You can read about "The Athenian Lyre" in an article from 16 November 1914 in the Grey River Argus, in Papers Past, which describes the magazine as written in a "happy, humorous vein".


Auckland Museum notes that: 'At the beginning of the First World War, every troopship leaving for or returning from conflict was producing a shipboard newspaper. These periodicals provided entertainment for long and monotonous journeys and also reported the stories of the sometimes hundreds of passengers and crew. This material has a richness of insight and absence of propaganda that cannot be found in official histories'.

Of the 111 troopships sent from New Zealand, 88 are known to have produced magazines.  This magazine was produced on the Athenic, in its first voyage as a troop ship, and as one of the first troopships to leave New Zealand. [Wikipedia Sept 2015] comments: 'The SS Athenic was a British passenger liner built in Belfast for the White Star Line in 1901.

The Athenic was the first of three identical sister ships which were built for the profitable freight and passenger service from London to Wellington, New Zealand. 

When war was declared between England and Germany in August 1914, Athenic was in Wellington, New Zealand, and was requisitioned as a troopship under the British Liner Requisition Scheme. On September 23, 1914 she was in Lyttelton (Christchurch) in the South Island of New Zealand, where as one of the transports carrying what was known collectively as the "Main Body", she took on board the following units of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force: Headquarters, Mounted Rifles Brigade, the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regt. (2 squadrons) and the Canterbury Infantry Battalion (less 1 Company).

The Officer Commanding Troops was Colonel A.H. Russell. In total the Athenic carried 54 officers, 1,259 men and 339 horses. She proceeded to Wellington and berthed there till 16 October 1914, when it was judged safe to depart.

She sailed across the globe, sailing per convoy by way of Hobart, Albany, Colombo, Aden and finally arriving in Alexandria to disembark the soldiers on December 3, 1914. SS Athenic was designated at that time as being (His Majesty's New Zealand Transport) HMNZT 11. She was the largest troopship ever sent from New Zealand transporting New Zealand forces to the Middle East. Athenic acted several other times as a transport throughout WWI, with a new number for each voyage she undertook.