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Royal Navy job no tall order for 4ft 11in servicewoman

Laura Shann is just over a centimetre above the height restriction.

A 24-year-old believed to be one of Britain’s shortest servicewomen is training for one of the Royal Navy’s most dangerous jobs.

Laura Shann stands at just under 5ft (152.4cm) – with her 151.5cm frame meaning she is just over a centimetre above the height restriction.

She traded in a job as a receptionist in a car garage to join the Navy – and was told, at 4ft 11.8in, she may struggle owing to her size as she trained to become a Naval Airman Aircraft Handler.

Laura Shann (Royal Navy/MoD Crown Copyright/PA)

But Chief Petty Officer John Etherington said: “She has faced every challenge with steely grit and a desire to succeed.”

Aircraft Handlers have to move helicopters and jets on flight decks and be ready to rescue aircrew if needed.

Speaking about her training, she said: “If you fail, you’ve just got to come back and do it again. Sometimes due to my size I have had to find different techniques.

Laura Shann with her colleagues (Royal Navy/MoD Crown Copyright/PA)

“I struggled with ladder drills at first, and because it is such a great team environment, all the lads chipped in to help me.

“But then I figured out a work around. Weight was a bit of an issue too at first – at 25kgs, the hose was half my weight and the ‘dummy’ casualties we carry are 80kgs whilst we are wearing a 10kg canister.

“I quickly found different ways of carrying, so my size was not an issue.”

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