Most significant British-Commonwealth defeat

The most significant one was...

  • Battle of Almansa, 1707

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Siege of Cartagena, 1741

    Votes: 2 5.6%
  • Siege of Fort William Henry, 1757

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Siege of Yorktown, 1781

    Votes: 11 30.6%
  • British invasion of the River Plate, 1806 and 1807

    Votes: 1 2.8%
  • Retreat from Kabul, 1842

    Votes: 1 2.8%
  • Siege of Cawnpore, 1857

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Battle of Isandlwana, 1879

    Votes: 2 5.6%
  • Siege of Khartoum, 1884-1885

    Votes: 1 2.8%
  • Gallipoli campaign, 1915

    Votes: 1 2.8%
  • Battle of Singapore, 1942

    Votes: 13 36.1%
  • Battle of Arnhem, 1944

    Votes: 1 2.8%
  • Other

    Votes: 3 8.3%

  • Total voters


Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
Canary Islands-Spain
Which of these encounters do you think was more important for the British? Notice I don't say most important for history, but for the British people. For example, I watched the Russel Crowe movie on Gallipoli and then realized how important this battle was for the Commonwealth nations
Mar 2016
Yorktown, and nothing else really comes close. Unlike these other losses, it resulted in the permanent loss of a very large part of their empire. They were never to recover the Thirteen Colonies, and the battle fairly decisively caused the eventual British defeat. Even something as shocking and humiliating as Singapore was ultimately very short-term since the city was recovered three years later.
Feb 2016
To the British nation. Yorktown, it’s the only one that affected the outcome of the war.

To British people now, Arnhem and Singapore but only because they are the most recent and most likely to be remembered by a father, grandfather great uncle. Most of the rest are largely forgotten outside of military historians and wargamers.

Isandwala probably caused more national trauma and embarrassment.
Gallipolli probably caused more loss to the nation in blood.
Mar 2018
Had the British won Yorktown, could they have won the war? Or was the difficulty of fighting against a fairly hostile native population, a continent away, with major French support simply never going to work?


Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
Las Vegas, NV USA
Why did Cornwallis go to Yorktown in the first place? His army was pretty chewed up after the long march from Savannah. I believe he was hoping to board British ships. This was not a victorious army even in the absence of the French fleet. After his surrender the state of war continued. The British still held New York until the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

I voted for Singapore, where the big guns were fixed in the wrong direction.o_O
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Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
Nor Yorktown nor Singapore had very much KIA and DOW.. so they are not important.. almost not blood... the worst British Defeats KIA-DOW... Cartagena de Indias, Gallipoli, La Somme.... British lost 400.000 men in Somme..


KIA-DOW in Yorktown: as maximum : 309
KIA-DOW in Gallipoli: 30.781
WIA in Yorktown: as maximum: 595 wounded
WIA in Gallipoli: 76.264

And about 18th/19 Century:

Yorktown: 10.000 casualties (9.000 POW)... Buenos Aires: 4.000 casualties (2.000 POW)
Yorktown; 10.000 casualties (9.000 POW)... Almansa: 17.000 casualties (12.000 POW.. not only British but British, Dutch and Portuguese).
Yorktown: 10.000 casualties (9.000 POW).. Cartagena de Indias: 20.000 casualties (12.000 dead, around 4.000 KIA)

In Somme British substained: 107.411 KIA and 36.879 dead of wounds (DOW).. Who said British had more KIA-DOW in Singapore than in Somme?
Who said British suffered more Wound in Action in Singapore than in Somme?
British Army Wound in Action in Somme: 463.697

I have the British Official casualties in Singapore... i must to looking for.. but it was almost ludicrous... to compare to Somme (or to Gallipoli or to Cartagena de Indias is an insult)

Best wishes.
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Sep 2015
The battles for the cause of freedom...

Sounds a bit corney or mawkish perhaps, but very facing up real nonetheless, often fought with many allies (Commonwealth nations, America etc).