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Roza Shanina was born in 1924 in the Northern Russian village of Yedma in Arkhangelsk Oblast. Running away from home to attend school at the age of fourteen, she went on to became a kindergarten teacher before signing up for the Soviet military in 1941. Graduating from the Central Women’s Sniper Training School with honours, she went on to serve on the frontline and was awarded 2nd and 3rd class Orders of Glory and the Medal for Courage. She died in battle whilst shielding a wounded artillery officer in January 1945.