Sir Admiral Nowell Salmon joined the Navy as a Volunteer First Class in 1847 and served on THESIS at the South American Station during the period 1851-53. He was promoted to First Mate in 1854 and would go on to serve on JAMES WHATT in the Baltic, gaining the Baltic medal. In January 1856. He was promoted to Lieutenant and made commander in March 1856. During the Indian Mutiny of 1857 he went into action in the town of Lucknow, under Peel. Peel then called for volunteers to climb a tree next to the fortified temple in order to spot grenade throwers Sir Admiral Nowell Salmon volunteered and received the Victoria Cross. He then joined SHERMAN in May 1853. During the period 1859-61 He was in control of ICARUS, in the Mediterranean and the West Indies stations and in 1863 was promoted to Captain, commanding DEFENCE in the West Indies. In 1878 Salmon commanded SWIFTSHORE and by 1885 was promoted to Vice Admiral. He served as the Commander in Chief of the China Station 1888-1891 and became an Admiral on 10th September 1891. He then served as the Commander in Chief of Portsmouth 1894-7. In 1899 he was made Admiral of the Fleet. He retired in 1905, and lived in retirement at Curdridge Grange, Botley, Hampshire. Sir Admiral Nowell Salmon died on 14th February 1912. In 1866 Sir Admiral Nowell Salmon married Emily Augusta.
The collection was aquired in 2006 as a gift from Brother Benet Watt. It is comprised of diaries from Nowell Salmon and his wife Emily Salmon, and three diaries from Sophie Saunders. The collection also includes letters belonging to various members of the family between 1857 and 1961.