Van Daalen was named after his Dutch father Gotfried Coenraad Ernst (Frits) van Daalen (born in 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands 23 July 1836 and died in Surabaya, 13 May 1889), also a famous, decorated KNIL officer and veteran of the Aceh War, who was discharged from service as a consequence of a scandal where he saw fit to publicly offend the Governor-General (highest colonial authority) of the colony.
As a young officer in the rank of Lieutenant and Captain Van Daalen was awarded several prestigious militairy distinctions for proven bravery. He first became Knight of the Military William Order in 1890, was awarded the Honorary Sabre by the Dutch monarch in 1897, followed by becoming an Officer of the Military Willem Order in 1898.
Although notorious due to his controversial approach during the final phases of the protracted Aceh War and his consequent conflicts with both Van Heutsz and Snouck Hurgronje, he was appointed Governor of Aceh between 1905 and 1908.
He was eventually promoted to the highest rank of Luitenant-generaal in 1909 and became Commander of the KNIL in 1910, before retiring and repatriating in 1914.