David was the son of John Pattison Chapman, a Grocer, and Mary Ann Chapman, who lived in Sunderland.
He was educated at Westoe Secondary School, South Shields, then at Armstrong College, where he graduated with a BSc and a 2nd Class Teaching Diploma. He was appointed to the teaching staff of Westoe Secondary School in January 1902.
He married Laura Fanny Chapman, who previously lived at 30 Blagdon Avenue, South Shields in 1905. They had a son, Edward Snowdon Chapman, who was born around 1910.
David became a Temporary Second Lieutenant in the East Surrey Regiment on 1st January 1916, and later a Lieutenant in the Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own), 3rd Battalion, and was mobilised to France in January 1918.
David was killed in action on 25th March 1918, aged 42.