Daniel Alan Keighran VC

b. 18/06/1983 Nambour, Queensland, Australia.

Daniel Alan Keighran (1983-) was born in Nambour, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland region of Queensland, on 18th June 1983. When Keighran was in Year 5, he moved with his family to Lowmead, approximately 80 kilometres (50 mi) north west of the Queensland regional city of Bundaberg. His family lived on a “forty-acre block” where his parents bred paint horses. His mother also taught dressage, and his father occasionally organised rodeo events. Keighran attended school in nearby Rosedale and graduated from High School in 2000. That year Keighran was a torchbearer for the 2000 Summer Olympics torch parade and received a Pierre de Coubertin Award in recognition of his “Olympic spirit”.

Daniel A Keighran VC

He joined the Australian Army on 5th December 2000 and, after completing recruit and initial employment training, he was posted to 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR). While serving at 6 RAR, Corporal Keighran (pronounced: “Kear-ran”) deployed to Rifle Company Butterworth, Malaysia, in 2001 and 2004; Timor-Leste (East Timor) in 2003–04; Iraq in 2006; and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2010.

On 24th August 2010, during his second Afghanistan deployment, Corporal Keighran was part of an Afghan and Australian fighting patrol engaged by a numerically superior and coordinated enemy force near the village of Derapet, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan. The attack was initiated by a high volume of sustained and accurate machine-gun and small arms fire which pinned down the combined Australian and Afghan patrol and caused a loss of momentum.

In the early stages of the attack, and upon realising that the forward elements of the patrol needed effective fire support, Corporal Keighran and another patrol member moved under sustained and accurate enemy fire to an exposed ridgeline to identify enemy locations and direct the return fire of both Australian and Afghan machine guns. On reaching this position and with complete disregard for his own wellbeing, Corporal Keighran deliberately drew enemy fire by leaving the limited cover he had and moved over the ridgeline in order to positively identify targets for the machine gunners of the combined patrol. After identifying some of the enemy firing positions, Corporal Keighran, under persistent enemy fire continued to lead and mentor his team and move around the ridge to both direct the fire of the Afghan and Australian machine gunners and to move them to more effective firing positions. As the intensity of enemy fire grew, Corporal Keighran returned to the crest of the ridgeline to identify targets and adjust the fire of Australian Light Armoured vehicles. His actions resulted in the effective suppression of enemy firing points, which assisted in turning the fight in the favour of the combined patrol.

Moving to a new position, Corporal Keighran deliberately and repeatedly again exposed himself to heavy enemy fire to assist in target identification and the marking of the forward line of troops for fire support elements whilst simultaneously engaging the enemy. Realising that the new position provided a better location for the patrol’s joint fire controller, Corporal Keighran moved over 100 metres across exposed parts of the ridgeline, attracting a high volume of accurate enemy fire, to locate and move the fire controller to the new position. He then rose from cover again to expose his position on four successive occasions, each movement drawing more intense fire than the last in order to assist in the identification of a further three enemy firing points that were subsequently engaged by fire support elements.

During one of these occasions, when his patrol sustained an Australian casualty, Corporal Keighran with complete disregard for his own safety, left his position of cover on the ridgeline to deliberately draw fire away from the team treating the casualty. Corporal Keighran remained exposed and under heavy fire while traversing the ridgeline, in order to direct suppressing fire and then assist in the clearance of the landing zone to enable evacuation of the casualty.

On 1st November 2012, Corporal Keighran was invested with the Victoria Cross for Australia by the Governor-General in Canberra, becoming the third Australian to receive the award during the Afghanistan War. Keighran now serves in the Australian Army Reserve posted to Army Headquarters. He then went into the mining industry working in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia at the Frog’s Leg Gold Mine until 2015. Daniel regularly attends the VC and GC Association Reunions, and his medals are held on loan by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.