Squadron Leader David John (Dave) Shannon

Service number 407729
Ranks Held Flight Lieutenant, Flying Officer, Squadron Leader
Birth Date 27 May 1922
Birth Place Australia: South Australia, Adelaide, Unley Park
Death Date 1993
Final Rank Squadron Leader
Service Royal Australian Air Force
Units
  • No. 106 Squadron (RAF)
  • No. 617 Squadron (RAF)
Place Unley Park
Conflict/Operation Second World War, 1939-1945
Gazettes Published in London Gazette in 1943-01-12
Published in London Gazette in 1943-05-28
Published in London Gazette in 1943-11-12
Published in London Gazette in 1944-09-26
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1943-06-03
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1944-10-05
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1943-11-18
Description

An Australian member of the elite 'Dam Busters' squadron. Shannon was just 20 when he took part in the famous bombing raid on the German dams in the Ruhr Valley.

The son of a South Australian member of parliament, Shannon enlisted in the RAAF as soon as he was old enough. After completing his flying training he was sent to England and posted to No. 106 Squadron RAF, where his commanding officer was Guy Gibson. Gibson left to form No. 617 Squadron for special flying operations and asked Shannon, already a young decorated veteran, to join him.

No. 617 Squadron RAF was to make a daring raid using special bombs on German dams supplying the Ruhr industrial works, and Shannon was one of four Australian pilots involved. The operation took place on 16 May 1943. Shannon saw the Möhne Dam successfully breached and so was ordered to attack the Eder Dam, a difficult task because of the surrounding hills. For his part he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), while the squadron soon became famous as The Dam Busters .

Shannon had the unblemished look of a teenager [and] unruly blonde hair . He failed to conceal his youthful look with a wispy moustache. When introduced to the King, an event which coincided with his 21st birthday, he was told: You seem a well preserved twenty-one, Shannon.

The squadron continued its specialist role throughout the war and Shannon would be regarded as one of the pilots who were its backbone. He received the second of his two Distinguished Flying Crosses for an attack on the Dortmund Ems Canal, and another DSO for an attack on Munich in April 1944. Not long after he left No. 617 Squadron, having completed 69 operations, he chose to drop rank to resume operational flying in Transport Command.

After the war Shannon remained in Britain, becoming a business executive and travelling widely. He died only a few weeks before a reunion planned for the 50th anniversary of the Dam Busters raid.

Rolls

  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    No. 617 Squadron (RAF)
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Squadron Leader
    London Gazette
    26 September 1944 on page 4441 at position 1
    Commonwealth Gazette
    05 October 1944 on page 2257 at position 2
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    No. 617 Squadron (RAF)
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Flight Lieutenant
    London Gazette
    12 November 1943 on page 4972 at position 1
    Commonwealth Gazette
    18 November 1943 on page 2517 at position 4
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    No. 617 Squadron (RAF)
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Squadron Leader
    London Gazette
    28 May 1943 on page 2362 at position 1
    Commonwealth Gazette
    03 June 1943 on page 1150 at position 1
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    No. 106 Squadron (RAF)
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Flying Officer
    London Gazette
    12 January 1943 on page 269 at position 1

Timeline

Date of birth 27 May 1922
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 04 January 1941 106 Squadron RAF.
Date of honour or award 12 January 1943 Distinguished Flying Cross.
Date of honour or award 28 May 1943 Distinguished Service Order.
Date of honour or award 12 November 1943 Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross.
Date of honour or award 26 September 1944 Bar to Distinguished Service Order.
Date of death 1993