Alfred Barling

Date of birth: 1878
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: 674
Rank: Gunner
Regiment / Division: Natal Siege Battery 74th
Battalion: South African Heavy Artillery
Died: 19th September 1916 aged 37 years
Death location: Of disease in the Military Isolation Hospital, Etaples, France


Life before the War
Alfred’s parents were John Aldridge Barling (b.1839 – d.26/09/1920) and Louisa Martha, nee Goddard (b.1842 – d.1926).  John was born and died in Southampton whilst Louisa was born in Andover and also died in Southampton.  They were married in Nottingham in 1868.

There were probates for Alfred’s parents:

BARLING John Aldridge of Bramcote Highfield Crescent Southampton died 26 September 1920.  Probate London 10 November to Louisa Martha widow, Leonard William Lankester ironfounder and Frederick Turner gentleman.  Effects £12461. 4s. 8d

BARLING Louisa Martha of Bramcote Highfield Crescent Portswood Hampshire widow died 2 January 1926.  Probate London 5 March to Edith Annie Barling and Gertrude Martha Barling spinsters.  Effects £598 16s 10d

John and Louisa had 5 children, Alfred’s siblings were:

Edith Annie (b.1869 – d.03/09/1966).
Probate dated 17th October 1966:
BARLING Edith Annie of 1 Oakmount Avenue Southampton died 3rd September 1966.  Probate to Harold Edmund Abel and John Browning Griffin solicitors. £24803

Frederick Goddard (b.1870 – d. 1875)

Henry Aldridge (b.1874 – d.26/03/1939).  Married in 1902 to Ethel Young in Kensington.  There was a probate for Henry dated 15th May 1939:
BARLING Henry Aldridge of 7 Rigby Road Portswood Southampton died 26 March 1939.  Probate London 15 May to Ethel Barling widow and Murial Gwendoline Channon married woman.  Effects £305. 9s. 3d.

Gertrude Martha (b.1877 – d.02/06/1961).
Probate dated 2nd June 1961:
BARLING Gertrude Martha of 1 Oakmount Avenue Highfield Southampton spinster died 11 April 1961.  Probate Winchester to Eric Herbert Channon Chartered Accountant and Harold Abel solicitor.  Effects £11432. 17s. 3d.

The 1891 census gives the family’s address as 67 High Street, Southampton and living with them are a male boarder and two servants.  Alfred’s father John is in business with his father at this address ‘Alfred Barling & Son, grocers, wine & spirit merchants & insurance agts.’  Henry is a grocer’s assistant.

In the 1901 census Alfred’s parents are living at 154 Portswood Road, Southampton with his sisters Edith and Gertrude and also a servant.  Alfred’s father is now employed as an Insurance Agent but there are no employment details on the census for the daughters.  Although Alfred and Henry cannot be found on a census there is a report in The London Gazette dated April 5th 1901:

‘Notice is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between the undersigned, Henry Aldridge Barling and Alfred Barling, both of 190 High Street, Hounslow, Middlesex, carrying on business as Grocers and Provision Dealers, at 190 High Street, Hounslow aforesaid, under the style of “Barling Brothers”, has been dissolved by mutual consent as from the 21st February 1901.  All debts due to and owing by the late firm will be received and paid by the said Henry Aldridge Barling.-Dated this day of April 1901.’

There is an entry in the Edinburgh Gazette dated May 1st 1906 which reports that the business was in bankruptcy.

By the 1911 census Alfred’s two sisters are still living at home with their parents at Bramcote, Shaftesbury Avenue, Highfield, Southampton.  Henry cannot be found on a 1911 census but his wife Ethel and their daughter Gwendoline are boarding at 65 Anglesey House, Bedford Place, Southampton.

There is a record for H. A. Barling who served as an assistant purser aboard S S Philadelphia which arrived in New York on 3rd May 1917 and Alfred’s probate dated 16th December 1916 read:

‘BARLING Alfred of Bramcote, Highfield Crescent, Southampton Gunner South African Heavy Artillery died 19 September 1916 at the Military Hospital Etaples inn France.  Probate London16 December to Henry Aldridge Barling assistant ships purser.  Effects £217 9s. 3d.’

There are very few records for travel to South Africa in the early 1900s but there is a record of a ‘Mr A. Barling’ who sailed to South Africa from Southampton on 21st December 1905.  The age of this man was 36 and Alfred would have been 27 so it is not definite that this was Alfred.

A ‘Mr A Barling’ sailed from South Africa and arrived in Southampton on 22nd March 1913 and his age is correct.

Military Service
Alfred served in the 74th Natal Siege Battery of the South African Heavy Artillery.  There is a service card from the South African War Graves Project which records that his next of kin was his father John at Bramcote, Highfield Crescent, Southampton, so Alfred was probably not married.

Alfred was taken on strength and posted to report on the 8th November 1915.

There are two websites which have a memorial for Alfred:
http://somme-roll-of african/South_African Heavy Artillery.htm,  and

It is therefore believed that Alfred was involved in the battle of the Somme and particular Delville Wood, where there is a Memorial dedicated to all South Africans who served in the War.

He died of bacillary dysentery at Etaples Military Hospital on 19th September 1916.  Alfred was awarded the Victory and British War Medals

He is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery.  Grave reference XV. A. 1 and remembered on the South African Heavy Artillery Memorial in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  This Memorial was erected by Officers, NCO’s and Men of the South African Heavy Artillery in memory of those who fell in the Great War.  It was unveiled by Field Marshall Earl Haig on 26th April 1921.  All those who died are named in a book which is held at the Delville Wood Museum.

Alfred is also remembered on the Highfield Memorial which is in the grounds of the Parish Church, Highfield Lane, Southampton, and on a family grave at Southampton Old Cemetery. Grave Reference 39. F. 49. The inscription reads:


UTW BARLING Alfred      Gunner 674

UTW BARLING, Alfred     Gunner 674

In Loving Memory of Alfred Barling
Gunner in South African Heavy Artillery
Died of Dysentery at Etaples Military Hospital France
September 19th 1916, aged 37
Youngest Son of J. Aldridge and Louisa M Barling

Interred in Etaples Military Cemetery

In Loving Memory of John A Barling
The beloved husband of Louisa Martha Barling
Who passed over September 26th 1920, aged 81 years
Peace Perfect Peace

In Loving Memory of Louisa Martha
The beloved wife of John Aldridge Barling
Who passed over January 2nd 1926
Blessed and the pure in heart for they shall see God

In Loving Memory of Henry Aldridge Barling
Husband of Ethel Barling and second son of
J Aldridge and Louisa M Barling
Died March 26th 1939, aged 65 years
At Peace


Researcher: Shaun Connolly and Jackie Chandler
Published.: 1st July 2014
Updated: Insert dates here

If you have any additional information about the person named above please complete the Comments section below.

2 responses to “Alfred Barling

  1. Alison Ford

    Fascinating to see this – it is a wonderful job that you are doing, preserving the memory and lives of all these men who gave their lives in WWI and II. I came across this entry by chance as my Great Great Uncle used to work at the Hartley University College Southampton and I have a very old photograph of the College. Next to the College in the photograph is clearly 67 High Street Barling & Son. Would you be interested in a copy of the photograph?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s