Edmund Fremantle, grandson of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Fremantle (q.v.), entered the Navy in 1849 in the Queen on the Mediterranean Station. From 1852 he served in the Spartan on the East Indies and China Stations and was involved in the Burma War. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1857. He next served in the Orion and Royal Albert on the Mediterranean and Channel Stations and from 1860 in the Neptune, with Captain Sir Geoffrey Phipps Hornby (q.v.), on the Mediterranean Station, until his promotion to commander in 1861. Fremantle then commanded the despatch vessel Eclipse on the Australian Station, 1864 to 1867, and saw service in the Maori War, 1864 to 1866. He was promoted to captain in 1867. He commanded the Barracouta between 1873 and 1874 on the Cape Station, after which he served in the Doris between 1874 and 1876 as part of the Detached Squadron. From 1877 he commanded the Lord Warden for a year on coastguard service and then went to the Invincible in the Mediterranean, 1879 to 1881. He was Senior Naval Officer at Gibraltar from 1881 to 1883. His next command was the Dreadnought in 1884. After his promotion to rear-admiral in 1885, he was second-in-command of the Channel Squadron with his flag in the Agincourt. He was Commander-in-Chief, East Indies, from 1888 to 1891, on the China Station from 1892 to 1895 and at Devonport from 1896 to 1899. He was promoted to vice-admiral in 1890 and admiral in 1896. Fremantle published 'The Navy as I have known it' (London, 1904). See also Anne Parry, 'The Admirals Fremantle' (London, 1971).
The papers were presented in 1956 by Admiral Sir Sydney Fremantle. They cover Fremantle's career well, especially the Maori and Ashanti war periods They include logs, 1849 and 1859, 1856 to 1857 and 1873 to 1881; letterbooks, 1862 to 1876, 1879 to 1880; personal letters written mainly between 1864 and 1866 and papers relating to his commands, 1889 to 1895. There is also a section which deals with his court martial for grounding the Eclipse in 1866.