Life story 

Simo Häyhä was born in Kiiskisenkylä, Rautjärvi on December 17th, 1905. His home remained two kilometers behind the current border. There were eight children in the family. Simo was second youngest among them. He had his elementary education in Miettilä school on Finland's side of the current border. Simo became a farmer on his own farm. His hobbies were skiing, hunting and shooting. He played also Finnish baseball as a catcher.

He joined the civil guard, when he was 17. He did his military service in bicycle battalion 2 and 1 in years 1925-1927. He had his training to non-commissioned officer and was released as lance corporal. He was invited to sharp-shooter training in 1927.

In Winter War he belonged to infantry regiment 34. The commander of the troop was reserve's lieutenant Aarne Juutilainen, who was known by the nickname "The Terror of Morocco"During the war Simo's nickname was "Simuna"He fought in Kollaa and Ulismaa between 30.11.1939-6.3.1940. He got a severe injury on his face on March 3rd, 1940 in Ulismaa from the exploding bullet shot by the enemy. Simo Häyhä went through more than ten face operations. He would have liked to participate also in The Continuation War, but he wasn't allowed to. He received a task in a board receiving horses. He selected horses to the front.

During the Winter War he gained a promotion to corporal. On August 28th, 1940 Mannerheim promoted Simo Häyhä to second lieutenant.

Simo Häyhä was the most skilled sharp-shooter of all times with his 542 hits. Simo used in the war only his own rifle, that he had bought to the front. He was a soldier admired by his own people, but hated by the enemy. He was modest, he liked to spend time on his own, and he never cursed. He did, what he was told to.

After the war Simo settled down at his brother's farm in Utula, Ruokolahti. A settlement of migrants was appointed to him in Syyspohja, Ruokolahti. That's where he built a house. He did farming, took care of forests and hunted.

He was invited to be an honorary member of Ruokolahti Reserve Officer's Club. He was a honorary member of Carelian riflemen. He is also a honorary member of Häyhä family history society. Simo Häyhä lived all his life as a bachelor.

Simo Häyhä spent his last days in Treatment and Rehabilitation Center of War Invalids in Hamina. Hpassed away there on April 1st, 2002. He was buried in Ruokolahti.

Text: Harri Tonder
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