Charlotte Le Gallais ("Lottie") nursed at Auckland Hospital and was one of ten nurses selected for the first voyage of the New Zealand Hospital Ship 'Maheno', in July 1915.
Charlotte's brother Leddra ("Leddie") was already at Gallipoli when she embarked. He was killed in action on 23 July 1915. Auckland War Memorial Museum includes a collection papers relating to the Le Gallais family and includes letters Lottie sent to her brother Leddra that were stamped with the heartbreaking message
"Reported killed return to sender".
Lottie: Le Gallais family. Papers, 1870 - 1920. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS-95-11.
Lottie sent a large number of letters to her family and friends including C.F. Gardner, also known as Sonnie. In a letter dated Sept. 13 1915, Lottie writes:
The Australians and New Zealanders have made a glorious name for themselves everywhere - they bear their wounds - they have never been known to even flinch. I suppose the nurses in the Hospitals have to work hard, but they get the men from the ships after we have washed and cleaned them - you probably don't know what clean them means - no one could - what with flies and other creepers - the poor men!"
— Le Gallais family papers - Folder 6
Lottie spent over four months on the 'Maheno' returning home to New Zealand in November 1915. Surgeon-Vice-Admiral Sir James Porter wrote to Colonel Collins of the 'Maheno' on 13th November 1915
I shall ever feel grateful to you and your excellent staff, all so, keen, capable and zealous. They have been most cheery, and no difficulty has been too great to be overcome no matter how trying the circumstances.
Lottie is included in Te Papa's Gallipoli - the Scale of our War, created in conjunction with Sir Richard Taylor's Weta Workshop. She is one of the eight principal characters featured at 2.4 times life-size within the exhibition.
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