Military History

The Highest Honour #25 | William Joynt | Daniel Keighran

By The Cove July 5, 2021


Lieutenant Colonel William Donovan Joynt VC (1889 - 1986, 96yo)

William Joynt was born on 19 March 1889 at Elsternwick, Victoria.  At the completion of schooling he conducted office jobs and in 1909 sailed to North Queensland and did bush and farm jobs.  Having served in Victorian Rifles Militia he enlisted into the AIF on 21 May 1915 and was commissioned on 24 December 1915.

In July 1916 Joynt  joined the 8th Battalion in France and in September was shot in the shoulder during a raid on German trenches at The Bluff in the Ypres sector.  After his evacuation to England he rejoined the Battalion as a Lieutenant and served with the unit on the Western Front until August 1918, fighting in the second battle of Bullecourt and at Menin Road and Broodseinde.

In 23 August 1918, when an attack near Herleville was pinned down with heavy losses by intense fire from Plateau Wood, Joynt rallied the attackers and led an advance which cleared the wood’s approaches, then in a bayonet charge captured it and over eighty prisoners. For his 'most conspicuous bravery’ he won the Victoria Cross. He was seriously wounded in the buttock on 26 August 1918 and evacuated to England. Promoted to Captain in October, he was posted to AIF Headquarters, London in March 1919. In February 1920 he returned to Melbourne, where his AIF appointment terminated on 11 June 1920.

An inaugural member of Melbourne Legacy in 1923, Joynt helped to lead the club’s successful campaign to have Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance built in its present form on its present site. He was active in the Militia in 1926-33, being promoted to Major in February 1930. Mobilised on 26 September 1939, he commanded the 3rd Garrison Battalion at Queenscliff and then from March 1941, the Puckapunyal camp. From June 1942 he was camp staff officer then quartermaster at Seymour camp. He was placed on the Retired List as an honorary Lieutenant Colonel on 10 October 1944.

Joynt died on 05 May 1986 at Windsor and was buried with full military honours in Brighton cemetery.

 

Corporal Daniel Alan Keighran VC

Daniel Keighran was born on 18 June 1983 in Nambour, Queensland.  He joined the Army on 05 December 2003 at the completion of schooling and after training was posted to the 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, all before his 18th birthday.

He deployed to Rifle Company Butterworth, Malaysia in 2001, on Operational Citadel in East Timor in 2003-04 and again to Rifle Company Butterworth in 2004. In 2005 he was promoted to Lance Corporal and then served within Mortar Platoon, Support Company, 6RAR. In 2006 he deployed on Operation Catalyst in Iraq serving as a Bushmaster armoured-vehicle driver, a role he again fulfilled on Operation Slipper in 2007 when he deployed to Afghanistan with the Special Operations Task Group. In 2009 when promoted to Corporal he was posted back to Delta Company 6 RAR.

In February 2010 he again deployed on Operation Slipper and on 24 August 2010 his patrol was under fire by a numerically superior insurgent force. 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 drew 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. Corporal Keighran's acts of the most conspicuous gallantry to repeatedly expose himself to accurate and intense enemy fire, thereby placing himself in grave danger, ultimately enabled the identification and suppression of enemy firing positions by both Australian and Afghan fire support elements. These deliberate acts of exceptional courage in circumstances of great peril were instrumental in permitting the withdrawal of the combined Australian and Afghan patrol with no further casualties.

Keighran discharged from the full-time Army in 2011 and now works in the private sector also supporting veteran associations.

 

 


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The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.



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