CPL Keighran VC was the special guest at the public Unveiling Ceremony on the western lawn at the Buderim War Memorial Hall.
BWMCA president Errol Richardson said CPL Keighran VC was born at Nambour Hospital and grew up at locations including Maleny and Forest Glen. Mr Richardson said the BWMCA has been working for some time to develop a plaque recognising Dan’s service and bravery.
“The BWMCA was established in 1945 by the, then, small community of Buderim to serve as a living memorial to those who served and died to defend our values and way of life and honouring CPL Keighran VC continues that strong tradition,” Mr Richardson said.
Mr Richardson said the ceremony included an outline of the significance of the Victoria Cross by master of ceremonies WO1 Rick Brittain (Rtd) and a description of the action that resulted in CPL Keighran being awarded the honour by BWMCA member Major Brett Green (Rtd), an address by CPL Keighran VC as well as performances of Amazing Grace and the National Anthem by the Oriana Choir, followed by a light morning tea, with fellowship to continue at Mooloolaba Surf Club.
CPL Keighran VC received the Victoria Cross for exemplary military service, and the plaque will be mounted on the Buderim War Memorial Hall wall, alongside the centenary commemorative mural of the Gallipoli Landing in World War I.
“CPL Keighran VC’s service and sacrifice for our country is incredible and we are very proud to be able to honour one of our former local residents as a hero,” Mr Richardson said.
CPL Keighran VC said he was very pleased to be at the unveiling of the plaque today.
“When I think about that day in Afghanistan, what I did was for my mates, and I would not be alive today if not for them,” CPL Keighran VC said.
“Running and taking fire with bullets rushing past you, the sound is like a whip cracking around your head, and I was putting my life on the line, but it was justified because I had absolute faith in my team. The bond we share is a very special one, and I knew whatever happened, they would have dragged me off that hill and got me out of there.
CPL Keighran VC said he wanted to thank the BWMCA and the Buderim community for the recognition.
“I have to admit it is a strange feeling. I have been to many unveilings and usually the person being honour has passed away, so I’m very pleased to be alive and see it for myself and to be here today.”
Inside the hall, there will be another framed document that contains the details of CPL Keighran VC’s citation:
IN HONOUR OF CORPORAL DANIEL KEIGHRAN VC, 6 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
A former resident of nearby Forest Glen and the broader Sunshine Coast, Daniel Keighran was born in Nambour, Queensland in 1983 and joined the Regiment in 2001.
After service in East Timor and Iraq, he first went to Afghanistan in 2007. In August 2010, as part of a joint Australian Afghan National Army patrol, Keighran was involved in the action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross when his patrol came under sustained enemy attack. The enemy fire, which came from different locations, was accurate and deadly. Corporal Keighran deliberately and repeatedly exposed himself in order to direct suppress fire. From high points, he identified targets for machine-gunners and light-armoured vehicles. He also drew attention away from a mortally wounded comrade, Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney, and while under fire, set about clearing a landing zone for his evacuation. Throughout the long action, his bravery assisted the patrol to return accurate fire and to successfully withdraw without further casualties.
The citation for the award reads:
‘For the most conspicuous acts of gallantry and extreme devotion to duty in action in circumstances of great peril at Derapet, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, as part of the Mentoring Task Force One on Operation SLIPPER. Source: AWM Accession No. OL00635.001