Barling, George Reuben MiD


War Service:
Lieutenant GEORGE REUBEN BARLING, Royal Naval Reserve,was killed while serving on the hired drifter Floandi on 15 May 1917. He was one of 6 men killed on the Floandi during an attack by Austrian cruisers on the Otranto net barrage. The Floandi ‘s dead and wounded were rescued by the drifter Gowan Lea whose skipper Joseph Watt was awarded the Victoria Cross for his determination in fighting off an Austrian cruiser in this action.

The Otranto Barrage – nets hung between the surface and the sea bottom and patrolled by trawlers and drifters - was intended to prevent Austrian submarines reaching the Mediterranean from their base in the Adriatic. It was not a success and casualties among the RN crews manning the small ships were high. In the attack on 15 May 14 drifters were sunk and four (including Floandi) damaged.

George Barling himself was posthumously Mentioned in Despatches (Gazetted on 28 August 1917) and was awarded the Italian Silver Medal for Valour (Gazetted on 5 April 1918) and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm (Gazetted on 4 May 1920).

He is buried in Taranto Town Cemetery Extension.

Location of Memorial:
He is remembered on the memorial at St. Hilda’s church, Brockley.

He was 40. He was the son of Richard and Carry May Barling, of 7, Salehurst Road, Brockley


Contributed By: Andy Pepper

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