Brave men don’t often waste time with words. So it’s no surprise that Corporal Daniel Keighran admitted yesterday that his wife was one of the last to know about his courageous efforts in Afghanistan.

So, um about Afghanistan… Photo: The Australian

The 99th soldier to be awarded the VC, Corporal Keighran told reporters yesterday he only shared the real details of the battle at Derapet in the Oruzgan province a fortnight ago.

“She’s been brought into the loop now and let me just say she wasn’t impressed to start with but it’s all good now,” he said.

You don’t get much more human or honest than that.

It’s no secret that being a soldier is a dangerous job, but being the partner of a soldier would be no picnic either.

You can well imagine the citation of Keighran’s award that read: “with complete disregard for his own safety, broke cover on multiple occasions to draw intense and accurate enemy fire to identify enemy locations and direct return fire from Australian and Afghan fire support elements,” would have invoked an entirely different response for his wife. Terror, for instance.

I remember the interview Leigh Sales did last November with Danielle Kitchen, the 23 year old war widow of Tasmanian Corporal Richard Atkinson.

Kitchen spoke openly about the “code” the couple created when they wanted to talk about anything dangerous, and how she would have to pay attention to the tone of her fiancé’s voice as an indication of what was really happening for him on the ground.

“There was always a sense of worry but you can’t let affect your daily life,” she said.

One of the biggest misconceptions about being in a partnership is that you are obliged to share everything with the other person. Solider or not, sometimes the details of work or friendships outside of the immediate relationship are often better kept to yourself.

The things you don’t share are not sinister or even secrets so much as understandings or long established codes of confidentiality that make sense to the individual in context.

Work stress, particularly in times of job insecurity can be a terrifically hard thing to share with the person who might also rely on your income. There’s often little point in having two people lying awake at night wondering what the future holds.

The other issue of course, is the natural urge to protect the people you love above all else, no matter what job you have. 

We could all learn a great deal from a person like Corporal Keighran, but today’s lesson is probably the most universal and it goes something like this: the truth isn’t always the noblest option. Sometimes keeping things from the people you love is the kindest thing you can do.

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    • Bill says:

      09:23am | 02/11/12

      What a great Australian Corporal Keighran is.

      But I reckon his wife always knew that.

    • CK says:

      09:36am | 02/11/12

      Name one average australian married man that isnt….hell hath no fury like an australian woman slighted.

    • Fiona says:

      12:32pm | 02/11/12

      Are you kidding CK? Are you actually suggesting that every married man if terrific and heroic? What are you also suggesting about married women?
      Get a grip on yourself.

    • CK says:

      12:47pm | 02/11/12

      actually Fiona, this got added to the wrong comment, it should be under the comment by Bill below “No doubt Corporal Keighran is a kind, generous and selfless man. But maybe he’s also just sh*t scared of his wife!”

      I think you should calm down, and step away from the keyboard love.
      Although you did just prove my point about an aussie woman slighted..ready to fly off the handle at the slightest inkling of wrong doing.

    • Andy of Sydney says:

      01:34pm | 02/11/12

      You misogynist, you, CK!

      There. I saved our dear PM the trouble.

      Have a nice day, Ms Gillard!

    • Old Cobber says:

      03:43pm | 02/11/12

      So Cpl Keighran kept something between his mates? Not much difference from Secret Womens Business! Gratitudes to this fine Australian couple.  Not a whimper from the Emily’s List Tarts, no misoginyst rant—- what a weak,hypocritical mob
      they are—real Women see them for what they are, self serving,selfish,souless,sirens.
      To paraphase Gough W.  “Men & Women of Australia,It’s Time”

    • Bill says:

      09:29am | 02/11/12

      No doubt Corporal Keighran is a kind, generous and selfless man. But maybe he’s also just sh*t scared of his wife! smile

    • Austin 3:16 says:

      09:56am | 02/11/12

      So he’s a smart man as well then smile

    • Bill says:

      11:28am | 02/11/12

      That’s right, Austin. Old Keigo, he’s no dummy

    • AdamC says:

      09:36am | 02/11/12

      To me, sugar coating the facts for the missus, so she doesn’t worry, seems quite old-fashioned. And not necessarily in a good way. On the other hand, valour and courage (on the battlefield, that is, not the foory field) also seems pretty old-fashioned. But in an excellent way. Maybe we have to take the good with the bad, in that respect.

      My deepest thanks and congratulations to Coroporal Keighran.

    • Mahhrat says:

      09:58am | 02/11/12

      +1.  I think it’s the actions of a fantastic human being who is being lauded for doing exactly what comes natrually to fantastic human beings, for the noblest if wrong reasons.

      Good on them both, I hope they have a long and happy life.

    • Matthew says:

      10:11am | 02/11/12

      I disagree.  Letting your wife sleep at night without her knowing that you nearly didn’t come home isn’t old fashioned, it’s considerate.  Letting someone know you nearly died can cause almost as much pain as actually dying.

      Every soldier’s wife knows that it’s a possibility but this would take it to another level (which is why she was upset when he told her i bet).  Sometimes it’s not only considerate but necessary to withhold information… even (or especially) from a partner.

    • Mark says:

      10:15am | 02/11/12

      Yeah, on one hand it shows that he doesn’t think his wife could handle the truth, on another it shows the depth of understanding he has of her, and the depth of trust she has for him. Two halves of a whole, it seems.

    • Steve says:

      12:30pm | 02/11/12

      Whilst nothing to do with war or bravery. I nearly died while snowboarding in Japan in January this year. When i got back to the lodge with the guys i was riding with i didnt say anything to my wife, i was back safe and that was all that mattered and i didnt want her worrying the next day and the next day when i went out riding that i may not come back. Well sure enough later that night after a few drinks one of the guys i was riding with made it quite clear in front of my wife how close it had been and she was upset/worried

    • Leah says:

      12:53pm | 02/11/12

      AdamC, his wife already knows he’s in danger being in Afghanistan. She doesn’t need to know he’s throwing himself in front of gunfire. And Mark it has nothing to do with thinking she can’t “handle” it, it has to do with wanting her to be able to sleep at night. I’ll bet he didn’t tell his parents or any siblings he might have about what was going on either.

    • A Friend says:

      01:29pm | 02/11/12

      It’s not being old fashioned just common sense . Why confirm the obvious for no gain? Would be a rather dumb person not to know that when soldier partner walks off to war they may not return or something too terrible to comprehend may occurr.

      Knew an Aussie man who was left behind with a group of his Commando comrades in Timor during WWII. It wasn’t until 1998 that out of the blue whilst standing chatting one morning over the fence he discovered I had spent time in the Army and had served in Papua New Guinea during the Vietnam War era. We were swapping memories when suddenly he broke down and begged the lord for forgivness over his active invovement of shooting Japanese prisoners to avoid being detected and captured themselves.

      His wife nearly fainted on the spot . Later she was so glad that she was kept oblivious to this fact ,  they had been together since school days and she never knew until that day. She said that knowing back then would have probably changed her life forever but time and seeing her husband in the last days of his life confess to what he had to do to survive she understood how his selfless act in shielding her and the children from the realities of the situation was to comfort them as he alone carried the guilt hidden all those years. He passed away 2 months later with both of them at peace with the past. His 3 adult children still do not know to this day, that was his last wish. A real unrecognised hero.

    • andrew says:

      10:00am | 02/11/12

      If my wife didn’t tell me all the things she was unhappy about concerning her day at work, what would we talk about at the dinner table each night? ; )

    • K2 says:

      10:08am | 02/11/12

      Says a lot that Aussie men would rather run the gaunlet of enemy gunfire than upset their wives.  I think I’d rather the former than the latter also.

    • ibast says:

      10:26am | 02/11/12

      Well if that other blokes wife didn’t know about his public lipstick wearing she does now.

    • Ben C says:

      11:12am | 02/11/12

      Haha. Is that Cpl Mark Donaldson?

    • Pigdog says:

      12:39pm | 02/11/12

      No, it is General David Morrison, Chief of the Army!

    • Steve says:

      12:40pm | 02/11/12

      That’ll be LTGEN Morrison - Chief of Army (and apparent lipstick wearer).

    • Tator says:

      12:59pm | 02/11/12

      Ben C,
      Nope, not Cpl Donaldson as the soldier in question is actually an officer, cant tell exactly what rank as his epaulettes are on a bad angle but there is definitely badges of rank on them.

    • Ben C says:

      01:57pm | 02/11/12

      Thanks Pigdog, Steve and Tator.

    • Utopia Boy says:

      02:45pm | 02/11/12

      I worked for Dave Morrison when he was Brigade Commander of the 3rd Brigade.
      None of you would have the balls to say he was a lip stick wearer to his face. Well, you would only try it once, that’s for sure. Then you’d have no balls.

      Rest assured the Army is in good hands.

    • Frank of Ingle Farm says:

      10:34am | 02/11/12

      civilians don’t want to know what happens on a battelfield //
      they don’t in most cases need to know // he only told wife when he had to // if spouses knew the truth they would be living on a permanent knife edge // not knowing is often the lesser of two evils

    • Army wife says:

      10:38am | 02/11/12

      As an army wife myself, his action, in not telling his wife, seems very normal.
      It took nearly 3 years to find out my husband had actually fired his weapon during deployment, and 5 years to find out what sort of things he really did during that time.

    • Anne71 says:

      12:43pm | 02/11/12

      I’m not surprised, Army Wife. My dad was a Royal Navy commando during the Second World War, and he never liked talking about his experiences.  If anyone pressed him too hard about it, he would change the subject or even leave the room. I don’t think it was so much trying to “shield” others as just not wanting to remember some of the things he saw - and had to do.

      If they want to talk about it, that’s great. But if they don’t want to then they shouldn’t be forced - and family should not feel offended or “left out” if they don’t.

    • toroa says:

      02:21pm | 02/11/12

      a true warrior….humble….kia kaha

    • Army wife says:

      03:38pm | 02/11/12

      Despite my normal level of curiosity being quite high, I’ve actually never pressed my husband to tell me about his deployments. For me, that he is home and safe is enough. For now, anyway.
      He also takes very seriously rules on security, to a fault in fact. It makes for very one sideed phone called when he is away, and very short conversations when I ask any questions about his deployment.

    • Peter says:

      03:54pm | 02/11/12

      Army wife & Anne71… walk into any RSL and you’ll see two sorts of people. There are those who will willingly tell everyone about their ‘wartime exploits’, and then there are those who talk about their hobbies, or fishing, or whatever. The ones willing to boast about their service, usually did nothing and feel the need to embellish. The true heroes, and warriors, rarely want to talk about it.

    • Haydz says:

      10:38am | 02/11/12

      very brave man, and good on him - he deserves this medal. I can sympathize with him about not telling his wife the gorey details….
      My father passed away (9 years ago now) from a freak heart attack. He had apparently been to the doctors and got a clean bill of health - 2 weeks later he drops dead suddenly, while at work. Naturally my mother, sister and myself were shocked, devastated etc etc. It wasnt until a couple of months ago that we found out from one of his close friends that he knew he was going to die all along, and no surgery could save him - he didnt tell us because he didnt want us to worry. Sure, the shock of his death hurt, but it would have been worse to know he was going to die and it was only a matter of time. There are a plethora of reasons why he kept it from us, but essentially it was to protect us. For that, I am forever grateful and have an even higher level of respect for him as a man. I couldnt begin to know what it would have been like knowing for months you were going to die, and not tell your family and friends (bar his closest friend).

    • The Bunyip says:

      10:41am | 02/11/12

      That’s right guys; share your thoughts and worries with your partner, open up, confide, and be emotionally available.  Unless it will worry them - in that case, best to suffer in silence because there’s “little point in having two people lying awake at night”.

    • Gregg says:

      10:42am | 02/11/12

      I doubt that it would have really entered the head of Corporal Keighran that he had to keep details of various battle engagements and his particular involvement from his wife.

      From what I’ve heard him talk about the day, to him he was doing what came naturally in helping his mates in the most difficult of deadly circumstances and for the courage and valour he showed he can be as proud as his mates are no doubt thankful.
      I doubt that too many soldiers would be giving daily detailed reports to their partners or even a recount at the end of a tour and I would be surprised if too many partners would in general be like tell me all about it just as they would also be prepared to offer support when there were post traumatic issues.

      Corporal Keighran may have been aware that he was being considered for a VC before he got around to mentioning for what it was being awarded but then not all returning soldiers are going to be giving detailed accounts well after the event or possibly even wanting to recall it any more than necessary.
      It is also natural that his wife would react with a What!!!, you never ever mentioned that and then accept it was in the past and she was probably better off not to have had her concerns heightened.

      Good on them both and may they have a long and happy future.

    • Kika says:

      10:56am | 02/11/12

      I would imagine that if I was an Army wife not knowing would be better than knowing. How could you continue to lead a normal life at home being completely aware of what your husband is up to in Afghanistan? You’d be sick with stress and worry everyday! He did the right thing.

    • Enough already says:

      11:02am | 02/11/12

      There is a young lad in Queensland who saved his family from a fire.  He wasn’t trained do it.  He wasn’t paid to do it.  He is legally blind and he is only 11 years old.  If you want to talk bravery: there’s your man.  And there are lots of other examples of bravery and courage which happen every day in Australia that go largely unnoticed.  Our soldiers in Afghanistan are doing a job which they are highly trained to do, which they get paid to do and with all the best equipment and support we can provide them.  Every once in a blue moon one of them does what he is supposed to do in a firefight ie. get exposed to enemy fire.  Do we have to bend over backwards praising them every bloody time?  Enough with the Digger Worshipping already.

    • Chris says:

      11:14am | 02/11/12

      Shove it up your backside mate

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      11:19am | 02/11/12

      You sound quite bitter.

      When was the last time YOU put yourself in harm’s way to save someone else or to defend someone?

      Have you even served in the military?

    • Joel M-J says:

      11:25am | 02/11/12

      @ Enough Already

      My genitals are bigger than yours.

      Oh, sorry. From your comment, I was under the impression you were into pissing contests.

      You seem to believe that one can not be recognized for their bravery without it being at the expense of others. This is incorrect. Awarding Corporal Keighran with the Victoria Cross does not take anything away from what that kid does, and vice versa.

    • DutyFirst says:

      11:28am | 02/11/12

      What a load of rubbish. The VC is awarded for UNCOMMON acts of valour on the battlefield. He wasn’t “just” exposed to enemy fire. Otherwise literally everyone in the firefight he was in, and for that matter most infantry and SF deployed to Afghan, would have been awarded the VC. He deliberately exposed himself to the enemy in order to draw fire away from a wounded comrade who was being evacuated.

      If you’d taken as much time reading Corporal Keighran’s citation as you did writing a load of BS, perhaps you would have a slightly different opinion. But alas, I suspect you’re just a miserable troll.

    • HiveBoss says:

      12:05pm | 02/11/12

      Great.. Now you’ve upset the hivemind Enough already… Don’t you know you’re supposed to go with the flow and not upset the regulars - especially with facts and logic?  You’re just lucky you didn’t mention anything about this not being our war or being a pointless war, otherwise you would be in trouble!

      Take your truth, facts and logic and retire to another site sir, your common sense is not required here.

    • Ando says:

      12:06pm | 02/11/12

      “Do we have to bend over backwards praising them every bloody time? “
      No. You just proved we don’t HAVE to.You could just ignore it rather than be so bitter .The young bloke in Qld is brave as well and will no doubt get a bravery award. Do you think he should get a VC? Should nobody in a paid profession get an award ?

    • jg says:

      12:10pm | 02/11/12

      Never had the guts to actually join up hey?

    • Colin says:

      12:14pm | 02/11/12

      @ Enough already 11:02am | 02/11/12

      “Enough with the Digger Worshipping already….”

      Exactly. Trained to commit government-sanctioned murder of their fellow human beings whilst avoiding the bullets of those on the other side not wanting to die is not the same as being a simple citizen stepping in off the street into a blazing inferno and rescuing a child…

    • nihonin says:

      12:22pm | 02/11/12

      Good point enough, bravery is bravery and the young boy was acknowledge for his bravery, but that still doesn’t give you the right to question an award that given to a soldier by the Military, you may as well question all awards given out by all governments to citizens while you’re at it.

    • Robin says:

      12:29pm | 02/11/12

      You have no bloody idea do you mate?  Armchair critic.  The thing is, you will never understand as you are too self-absorbed and wrapped up in cotton wool.  The man is a hero.  And yes, you do have your right to your opinion.  As do I.  And mine is that you are either a troll or a bitter coward who justifies his lack of fortitude by belittling the achievements of others.  Whatever gets your rocks off eh mate?

    • Ross says:

      12:40pm | 02/11/12

      You seem bitter and twisted about this news. Did you miss you out on a gold star when attending high school? HAHA.

    • Ben C says:

      12:46pm | 02/11/12

      @ Enough already

      The young kid was awarded a Pride of Australia medal, for common bravery. He was acknowledged and feted, and especially so given his handicap.

      Going by your logic, those that have received awards for acts of valour during their course of work should not be in receipt of these awards. So, if a firefighter saves someone from a burning building, putting his own life at risk, he shouldn’t be recognised and awarded for his bravery because it’s part of his job?

    • Enough I said! says:

      01:27pm | 02/11/12

      Fact: you are 3.5 times LESS likely to die if you are an australian soldier on duty in Afghanistan than you would if you were just a plain old citizen back in Oz.  That is why we spend $20 billion dollars every year: so that the job of soldiering is very, very safe.  It’s probably safer than volunteer fire rescue.  So, please, can we give it a rest?  This hero worshipping is nothing more than media hype.

    • Simon M says:

      01:42pm | 02/11/12

      Enough Allready and Colin.
      Are you both serious? If you cared to do reserach on the VC you’ll see that those who earn the VC rarley survive the Action in which they earnt it. No one detracts what the 11 yo did and neither should both of you detract Coroporal Keighran’s act of Valour that earned him his VC.
      What I am sick of is lesser people like your selves who would rather see a return to the Vietnam era of calling soldiers returning ‘Baby killers’ and ‘Murders’ than have a little respect for someone putting his life on the line for his mates. Ever served your country? Ever had the guts to help those around you in Foreign lands that need help? Ever had your life on the line? You are in simple terms both F@#Kwits.
      Try and grow up and stop seeing the world in such simplistic ideological tones.
      A worthy congratulations to Coroporal Keighran VC from an ex grunt

    • Momo says:

      02:03pm | 02/11/12

      Bet you have no idea that most of the people who have received VC’s in the past got them posthumously? As in, the gave their lives in pretty stupid ways (to us normal folk) so their mates in arms could live. A person awarded for a VC goes BEYOND their normal job. Visit the National War Memorial sometime and read the individual stories. I’d like to see you do some of what they did!

    • AdamC says:

      02:04pm | 02/11/12

      What is this, feed the troll day? Even ‘Colin’ is back up from under his bridge, looking for some scraps of attention.

      The best thing we can do in response to this sort of vulgar comment pollution is to ignore it.

    • Katherine says:

      06:26pm | 02/11/12

      I imagine the men who’s lives he saved feel a little differently about it.

    • TheRealDave says:

      11:04am | 02/11/12

      Quite frankly - even Army Spouses have no idea what there partners are going through or have been through on the battlefield. Sure you can talk and empathise with them but its not the same. Perhaps Cpl Keighran just simply couldn’t find the words to express what he was going through or went through on the day, even to his partner. Or maybe he didn’t want to for fear of upsetting her or causing drama in his relationship. Its one of the biggest cliche’s of all time - if you weren’t there then you cannot understand. Its as true today as it was the day a bloke emerged from his cave to hit another bloke in another cave with his club.

    • PJs Ronin says:

      11:05am | 02/11/12

      How much a man talks is not relevant.  What a man says is relevant.

      Are you listening Canberra?  If just one of our elected ‘leaders’ followed this Corporal’s path, what a wonderful country Australia would be.

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      11:17am | 02/11/12

      As a young man, I thought Truth was the goal.  Truth in relationships, business dealings, etc.  It was a noble purpose unto itself.

      I read a lot of books.  Romanticism, abstract thinking, pondering on the virtues, and so on.

      As I grew older, I realised that the Truth can hurt.

      Unnecessary Truths don’t need telling.  There are things my wife doesn’t need to know.

      For example: my wife doesn’t need to know that I was almost cleaned up in a car accident; that I came within a whisker of being killed.  How would that knowledge help her? Would she drive more safely, or would she simply dwell on it, and become even more nervous on the road than she already is? 

      If it’s a positive truth—you’re looking lovely tonight—then it’s worth telling.  If it’s a negative, well, maybe keep it to yourself.

    • Audra Blue says:

      11:40am | 02/11/12

      If you have any emotional/mental backlash from your near death experience, then, yes, your wife needs to know.

      She deserves to know why your behaviour changed/changes and that it’s nothing she did or didn’t do.

    • Robin says:

      12:34pm | 02/11/12

      This is true.  I also did my servce overseas.  My partner knows some of what happened.  But not all.  There is no need.  It would not help her and could only cause distress.  There is no emotional backlash that might affect her.  I did see a counsellor for a while, and she knew it was related to my service, and that was enough.  Anyway, what some people fail to recognize is that by giving an account after the event, you are in fact recalling it.  And to be honest, there is much I do not wish to recall.  It has been dealt with and now it is gone.  Why drag it up to upset her and/or myself?

    • Blackadder says:

      11:19am | 02/11/12

      I’ve just finished a book on Dunkirk…not those that were evacuated, those that were captured and marched into captivity to spend 5 years of hell as slave labour - some 40,000 British soldiers (not counting Commonwealth troops), so not a small number.

      One of those interviewed for the book, now aged 80, opened up and told his story in full to the author, in front of his wife of 60 years. She broke down and was in tears and shock, as he’d hidden most of what he’d seen and experienced, to protect those around him. These surviving soldiers, now all around 80, to this day, have vivid memories of the executions, the mates being blown apart by bullets and shells, limbs being blown/shot off, and the general horrors of war that aren’t for the faint-hearted.

      Personally, as this elderly gentleman had done, some things that are seen/experienced in warfare, are not necessarily needed to be conveyed in glory detail to all and sundry for the emotional imact that may result. Forget the fact this soldier is married - his wife, kids, relatives, parents etc all need not know all he sees and experienced.

      This soldier well deserves his medal, and gets my respect for the consideration he’s shown those around him, as well the pride he has in his nation for serving.

    • Dan Webster says:

      11:30am | 02/11/12

      Says a lot about modern day women that this fine brave soldier is more scared of his wife than the Taliban !

      My full respect goes to Corporal Daniel Keighran.

    • owl says:

      11:36am | 02/11/12

      It’s pretty obvious to anyone who has a spouse away on a tour of duty that there is every chance their life could be endangered.
      My girlfriend told me she and her husband don’t go into the details because of the gravity of his commitment and the reluctance and difficulty he has endeavouring to portray his experiences with civillians , most of whom have no idea.
      She worries for him, he knows he has her ear if need be, and she accepts that.

    • Mack says:

      11:39am | 02/11/12

      At least we don’t have to worry about the morons on The Circle bagging out our latest VC winner.

    • Matt says:

      12:08pm | 02/11/12

      Nope, just Jeff Kennett this time. But it’s common knowledge he’s a moron and should be ignored..

    • chuck says:

      11:50am | 02/11/12

      Well done Corp.
      Pity Quentin was trying to out “bling” you at your ceremony.  That little piece of Crimean war metal for me, outshines the garish gold anywhere, anytime!
      Pj’s is spot on - Canberran parasites listen. It’s not all about YOU either.
      We need leadership and valour!

    • Lino says:

      12:15pm | 02/11/12

      There are two sides to communication…the ability to convey meaning, but also, the ability to listen.

    • Alan S says:

      12:36pm | 02/11/12

      I assume Daniel Keighran is just as modest about his achievements as most who deservedly receive an award. I believe awards are more significant in the minds of those who bestow them than those who receive them. Talking about your achievements, insisting on being called ‘Sir’ or your ex-service rank (only Major or above can do this) and adding the honour every time you sign your name is what disturbs me. I guess Daniel won’t texta ‘VC’ on his hard hat - though his mates probably will.

    • Sympathetic says:

      12:42pm | 02/11/12

      There’s a different side to this, and a reason for our sympathies to lie with the Corporal rather than his wife.  It is entirely possible he is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.  After all, the prevalence of PTSD is high in Afghanistan, and the acts of undoubted bravery for which Corporal Keighran was awarded his medal occurred in a fire fight where a friend and colleague died.  I used to work with people who had served in Vietnam and who had PTSD and a virtual universal issue each encountered was that they were incapable of discussing their experiences with anyone who was not there.  He might not look like he is suffering, either, since many I encountered were adept in keeping their condition under wraps.  It is very common that veterans of any war never discuss their experiences with their families.  Yes, it is partly to protect them, but it is also because it is too painful.

    • Steve says:

      12:52pm | 02/11/12

      A VC winner from the Vietnam War addressed my Army reserve unit some 25 years ago, and he told of how little recollection he had of the actions for which he was awarded his VC. Deep down, he felt embarrassed because he thought he just panicked and somehow survived, until he spoke to VC winners from WW2 who told him the same thing.

      When these guys do what they do, they’re completely in the moment. All the mechanical stuff, like getting up, running, operating weapons etc. is just training and drills kicking in. Their brains are totally occupied by the tactical situation, killing the enemy, protecting your mates, and yes, fear. In all this, there’s absolutely no room for thinking that what you’re doing is especially brave.

      That’s why these guys are so genuine when they say what they did wasn’t so special. There’s no false modesty with these guys. they are what you see.

    • TheRealDave says:

      04:17pm | 02/11/12

      Given that Badcoe and Dasher Wheatley were KIA and Simpson died from Cancer in the 70’s that leaves Payne…and he has never exactly been ‘modest’ of his accomplishment….

    • Scooter says:

      12:58pm | 02/11/12

      The details of a combat engagement are not required by those who were not there.  Congratulations CPL Keighran, well earnt.  Congratulations and my thanks to all our serving personnel.

    • Geronimo says:

      01:28pm | 02/11/12

      And Kennett’s criticism this morning…Few politicians in history have ever been big enough between the tits to make a comparable critique.

    • BruceS says:

      01:39pm | 02/11/12

      Congratulations Corporal. The quietness is probably a selfcontrol trick to keep the emotions stable. I went to a dedication ceremony at the RAR Memorial in Martin Place in 2006. The names of the 35 Killed in Action in my unit were read out. About half of them were old friends. At the reading of the second name, I began to weep,  and did not stop until after the 35th name was read out. I determined after this episode that my one hankie was to be replaced by at least five, the next time I attend Anzac Day Services.

    • Flyingdale Flier says:

      01:39pm | 02/11/12

      A brave man and one who deserves every accolade coming his way. My Father tried to join the navy during the second world war,but was knocked back because he worked at the local cannery and was considered to be in an industry essential to the war effort. Whilst not on the front line in any way or shape I like to think that he contributed in some way.

    • Kiera says:

      01:53pm | 02/11/12

      It is at a time like this, when an Australian soldier receives the highest honor and recognition for his selflessness and bravery in a time of war, that we can all hold our heads high and be proud to be Australian. I have the upmost respect for all of our servicemen and women who are doing amazing things each and every day locally and internationally. To see how humble Corporal Keighran is about receiving the VC is truly amazing. He didn’t tell his wife because it was something that came naturally to him, a mate was in trouble and he did what he knew to help (and he knew she wouldn’t be totally impressed)! Thankyou to Corporal Keighran and every amazing Australian soldier who puts themselves at risk daily to protest the life and ways of your fellow Australians!

    • Sam says:

      02:34pm | 02/11/12

      Good work on the bravery part and all . And I’m happy that he made a sacrifice . I just don’t believe that we should be sugar coating anything that happens anywhere in the world in terms of war . To say that your wife will not be able to sleep is a bit over the top . Your at war and she deals with that day in and day out . I think that she would’ve been proud that her husband did what he did . And let’s face it we all have a choice don’t we . He chose to be in the army and she chose to be his wife so really they both knew exactly what they were getting into . In everyday life there is also risk but we don’t celebrate or honour that . So this mushy love story on a soldier story really isn’t all that touching .

    • Utopia Boy says:

      02:55pm | 02/11/12

      Daniel has done the right thing. He’s not revealed military secrets to his wife, and not put out a book.
      I just wonder why, after being involved in such heavy action, he decided to leave the regular Army and become a reservist? Was it the stress of seeing his mate killed, which he won’t talk about, or lack of faith in the ADF as a support (psychological / logistical) organisation, or his desire to grow old with his wife?
      Knowing the way the military works, he would have been encouraged, threatened, advised, sent for tests, and had his discharge paperwork “lost” in order to keep him in regular service.
      These are better topics than the subject of this article.

    • DutyFirst says:

      03:20pm | 02/11/12

      Or perhaps he felt he had fulfilled his career ambitions in the ARA and wanted to pursue a different career (whilst still serving in the Reserves) and earn a better wage in the mines… Unlike the public perception, most returned veterans are functioning members of society. His mental health probably had little bearing on his decision to discharge. All soldiers leave the Army at some stage and the vast majority do so before retirement.

    • bananabender says:

      03:28pm | 02/11/12

      Some people react very diiffferently to combat. One of my university lecturers was a bomber navigator in the RAF during WW2. He was completely and utterly nonchalant about the danger he had faced. He once told me the best thing about the end of WW2 was the fact that there plenty of oranges in the shops.

    • Ben says:

      04:30pm | 02/11/12

      Having analysed in detail what Corporal Keighran did, I can honestly state he reacted exactly the way I would have grin

      On a serious note, it’s my experience, through having observed many people in highly stressful situations, that the saying “Always watch the quiet ones” is gospel.

    • Robert Smissen of country SA says:

      04:38pm | 02/11/12

      Keighran is undoubtly a hero, applying the same term to yobbo playing football is lame

    • pete says:

      04:53pm | 02/11/12

      He’s a tough guy and he acts like a tough guy. Nice to see in a world of pretenders.

    • UB says:

      06:02pm | 02/11/12

      love you all beautiful people

    • NickH says:

      06:53pm | 02/11/12

      But tell them in the end, that is key!


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