The Gray Lady service began in 1918 at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. Women volunteers acted as hostesses and provided recreational services to patients, most of whom had been injured during WW I. The women wore gray dresses and veils as uniforms and the soldiers affectionately called them "the gray ladies." The service did not become officially known as the Gray Lady Service until after World War II (1947). The term "Gray Ladies" refers to American Red Cross volunteers.
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Red Cross Uniform: ca. 1939-1945. "The blue seersucker dress, cap and bag were all used by Katherine Simons during the war in Charleston where she worked in the Red Cross canteen and with the motor service."
c. 1942-1947 Mercantile Uniforms, New York:WWII "Gray Lady" Red Cross Uniform/American Red Cross Volunteer Outfit. AKA Hospital and Recreation Corps. Uniform. The gray and white thin striped cotton dress and additional pieces of the white epaulets, white collar, gray matching belt and cap are all separate pieces. The American Red Cross Volunteer pin is pinned on the chest pocket above the large red cross embroidered patch. This one is dated 1942; the year they removed the veil from the cap.
World War II: Church Service in Cologne Cathedral, 1945 An American Army chaplain leads a group of kneeling soldiers (still armed with rifles) in prayer in Germany's famous Cologne Cathedral. This Margaret Bourke-White photograph captures the first service in the cathedral since it was heavily bombed by the Allies a month earlier -- and for those anxiously watching the events unfolding in Europe, half a world away, suggests not only the conflict's harrowing destruction and loss, but also, ju...