David McKay Shannon was born in Curran, Larne1, Co Antrim, Ireland on 19 February 1879. Hailing from a Presbyterian family, he was the eldest child of six born to mariner David Shannon and Jane McKay who were both unwed at the time of his birth, later marrying on 15 October 1879 in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim.
The 1911 census shows David and his family living at 10 Olderfleet in Larne and he and his father were described as sailors.
Shannon’s ship prior to Titanic had been the Olympic. He joined Titanic at Belfast for the delivery trip to Southampton where he then disembarked.
At some point, Shannon enlisted with the Royal Navy Reserve but sailed the dangerous waters of WWI with the merchant fleet. He was later awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for assisting in bringing his ship safely into port while under attack from an enemy submarine..
It is pleasing note that two further distinctions have been gained by Larne men at sea recently. Captain Stewart Darragh, son of the late Mr. Stewart Darragh, Ballylumford. has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Boatswain David McKay Shannon, has been awarded the Distinguisehed Service Medal. Shannon's parents reside at Castle Terrace, Larne Harbour. Hearty congratulations to both recipients, who, we understand, receive the decorations for acts of great bravery at sea. - Larne Times - 3 August 1918
On 6 December the same year David's brother William, a leading seaman in the RNR, was drowned in Albert Dock, Belfast.
Giving his address as Castle Terrace at Larne, Shannon was married on 22 January 1914 to Mary Jane McBride (b. circa 1871), an unmarried housekeeper with two adult children. David and Mary Jane had no children of their own and made their home at 27 Portland Street in Larne for the rest of their lives.
David Shannon died on 27 June 1961 at the age of 82 and was buried in Larne Cemetery.