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Staff member
Posted 28 May 2011 by Hunter
I am looking for any information about Nurses within the Italian Army during WW2, primarily North Africa. Can any one suggest some books or other sources of information for me? I am seeking to copy several nurses uniforms for my wife and her entire group so they can build that impression. I hope some one here can help.


Posted 29 May 2011 by Jeff Leser

I will need to find the thread, but I addressed this issue awhile ago. No females served as part of the R.E. (or any part of the Italian military prior to 43). Nurses were either Red Cross (and wore those uniforms) or members of a Holy Order (Nuns, and wore the clothing of their order). The latter were more common.

I will need to poke around to find that thread.




Posted 29 May 2011 by Hunter

Great thank you! I did a search on it before I opened up the thread but I must have missed it, the only substantial thing I came across was a post by Larusso asking a similar question with no reply.

Red Cross is what I had in mind for the most part. Anything and everything would probably prove useful to me in some regard. So, how about Italian Red Cross then? I had found an original WW2 Italian Red Cross uniform on Ebay once but it sold for a price beyond my budget. I had dearly hoped to copy it.


Posted 29 May 2011 by supermario

Hunter, I hope this helps.

Its the Archives of the Croce Rossa Italiana, and has some original photo's of Nurses in North Africa as well as russia and hospital ships.

My link

Also, if it helps, here is a link to a page on our website, as we sometimes have nuses attend our show. Hopefully will have two this year.

My link

If you wish t make a uniform, all i can tell you is that it is a simple A-Line dress, with a rounded collar, with 6 buttons to the waist line from the top of the collar. It could either be long sleeve or short sleeve (Often short sleeve dresses were issued with long cotton 'guantlets for the arms). The head dresses were Dark blue for nursing sister, and white for volunteer nurse, and similar to DRK nurses caps, except they were plain white and had the CRI red cross symbol (a cross of St George surrounded by a red octogon) on the hat brim. The Aprons are a simple Apron layout, with the long straps that go over the shoulders, cross over at the shoulder blades, pass through two loops on the upper outer edge of the wide part of the apron then are either tied or buttoned at the back.

All uniform was in white cotton. Shoes were white plimsols.(White Deck Pumps are practically identical!). In some photo's, the nurses appear to be wearing Army great coats and M1912 boots in rough weather conditions. There was also a special cape issued, that was worn like the Alpini Mantello, but had an integral hood. Believe this was Grey Green in colour too, but i've only ever seen photo graphs. Could possibly be in Plain grey wool, as this colour was used by many of the European Red Cross during the war.

Hope this helps.


Staff member
Posted 29 May 2011 by supermario
Further to my last post, i have done some simple schematics for you, so it will help you make these uniforms. In all fairness, a simple Tea dress pattern will suffice, as the basic cut is the same. However, the pictures i'm posting will help explain what i was talking about.


Simple long sleeved version of CRI Nurses uniform. A line pattern form with rounded collar. Pleats to allow for chest and hips.



Apron with straps and loops on outer edge of apron edge for straps to pass through. This would be a two piece onstruction (Apron fron that is) with appropriate hemming and straps and loops added. Red cross in simple form applied either by red cotton panel stitched on or screen printed red cross.

Nurses Cap.


Simple skull cap construction, with top of crown stitched on the bias with a rectangular lower part. Bottom then has elastic inserted through the lower hem of cap up to the 'Brim' which is an inverted trapeziod pattern, with the CRI cross applied via screen printing to the middle. The brim is a two piece construction, then strength stitched around the edge, and applied to the crown piece (The elastic goes as far as the bottom of the brim, not all the way around). This will need to be startched for stiffness.

CRI symbol


Ok. Hope that helps you Hunter, and i'm sure the ladies who want to do this will understand the construction and style needed to make these uniforms. Good luck and let us see the results!!



Posted 30 May 2011 by Hunter

WOW! THANK YOU! That is fantastic! The girls already have civilian outfits my wife and I have made them and some have British WAC uniforms part original part reproduction. Here are a few pics of them. These outfits are going to be a cinch to make. Going to be kind of nice not having to make everything completely by hand and using my machine for a change.

For some reason the links you posted dont work.

The girls are all very very excited to do WW2 Italian.


Posted 30 May 2011 by Hunter




Staff member
Posted 30 May 2011by supermario
Not Sure why the link for the Red Cross site didn't work, however, my website was suspeneded, but that has been sorted out. Phew!

Any way, here is a picture of the Ex playing at Nurse for one.


As you can see, we made a short sleeve version. The wearing of the Blue Sisters cap is not normally seen in the field, but i wanted a quiet life. If you get my drift....

Here are some contemporary images of the Nurses of the Croce Rossa Italiana.


Young Volunteer nurse with white nurses cap.


Nurses on the North African Front. Note the short sleeves.


Nurses treating a wounded Soldato. Note the Aprons. Unlike the jpeg i put up, these have a curved upper edge. never noticed that before....


On a Hospital Ship. Note the white plimsols, and white stockings (Although this only seems to have been worn on those occasions wear the cleaniliness could be maintained)


Dress uniform. Note the dark blue senior sisters hat with the white dress version worn by the volunteer nurses.

Hope these images help you Hunter.


Staff member
Posted 31 May 2011 by Hunter
@Supermario. That helps a great deal! EXACTLY what I needed! I can easily copy these. Will be nice having a unit of 4-6 girls doing Italian Red Cross. For whatever reason the links you posted still wont work for me.


Posted Yesterday, by supermario

Yes, this archive is what i wanted Hunter to see. Its full of pictures. You can see that they wore the dresses out in the field post actions. No 'combat' style uniform. The uniforms shown in Russia and Albania are interesting. You can see that they wore a great coat with Hood. Not sure on the colour. I suspect it would be blue, or grey blue to match other red cross agencies around the world. Germany seems to have followed a different route when it comes to the DRK dress and uniform.