Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

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.

bpanews_90d4b5ce-832a-463f-b133-7515af809885_embedded975875
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.

bpanews_90d4b5ce-832a-463f-b133-7515af809885_embedded975880
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.”

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph