William Everleigh Darwell was born in England in 1843. When he was 13 years old, he entered into the Royal Navy. His maritime career spanned thirty-seven years from 1856 to 1893, during which time he rose from midshipman to captain. He served on a number of vessels including the H.M.S. Esquimalt; the Landrail; the Excellent; the Racer; the H.M.S. Lynx on an expedition up the Niger River in 1869; the Duke of Wellington; the H.M.S. Coquette on the Gold Coast during the Ashantee War of 1873-1874 (he was awarded the Ashanti medal for his action); the H.M.S. Ranger; and the H.M.S. Tyne during naval and military operations in the eastern Sudan where he was awarded the Egyptian medal and Khedive's Bronze Star. In 1890 he was appointed to the Kingston division of the HM Coastguard where he served until his retirement on April 13, 1893. William E. Darwell passed away in 1919.
The fonds consists of records related to William E. Darwell's maritime career with the Royal Navy until his retirement and includes maritime service records; his hand-written logbook while serving on the HMS Ganges in Esquimalt (1859-1861); and newspaper clippings and records related to the collision of the HMS Tyne while under Darwell's command. Also included is correspondence with family and friends; naval crests from various ship stationery; memorial dinner menus and postcards; and photographs (1 framed) of Darwell.