My new book, Britain’s 20 Worst Military Disaster: from the Roman Conquest to the Fall of Singapore, is just out. Not surprisingly everyone in Britain seems to know about our great victories – Crecy, Agincourt, Blenheim, Trafalgar, Waterloo, El Alamein, etc, but when you have fought as many wars as the British, it’s not surprising that there’ve also been plenty of disasters.
The book looks at famous ones, such as Hastings, and Yorktown, which sealed the loss of the American colonies, but it also tells the story of the forgotten defeats – like Castillon, the last battle of the 100 Years War.
Some, like the first Battle of the Medway, had far-reaching consequences, paving the way for the Roman conquest. Others, like the second Battle of the Medway sixteen hundred years later, had little long-term impact, but was still regarded as ‘a dishonour never to be wiped off’.
There are stories of defeats by Afghans, Americans and Zulus, who had all been dismissed back home as no match for our boys, and of brilliant retreats that prevented even worse disasters as at Gallipoli and Dunkirk.
Britain’s 20 Worst Military Disasters ISBN: 9780752461977 is published by the History Press, and is offered for sale on their website