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Number of combat deaths for the UK armed forces 1945-2020, by conflict

After the Second World War, the deadliest conflict for the British Armed forces was the Malayan Emergency, which lasted from 1948 to 1960 and resulted in the deaths of 1,442 British soldiers. Over a much longer time period, between 1968 and 2007, there were 1,441 operational deaths for the British armed forces in Northern Ireland. The Korean War was a noticeably deadly conflict despite its relatively short duration and had the third highest number of fatalities for British troops at 1,129.

The wars of decolonization

The rapid disintegration of the British Empire after 1945 is the cause of many of the conflicts displayed here. In the aftermath of World War Two, there were 70 modern day countries in the British Empire, but by 1997, Britain’s colonial Empire had vanished. The Palestinian Emergency, which after 1945 caused 754 thousand British casualties, as well as the aforementioned Malayan Emergency are just some examples of Britain’s disorderly withdrawal from regions it once controlled.

Ongoing conflicts

The UK armed forces are involved in several ongoing military conflicts. Although there hasn’t been a British fatality there since 2015, the deadliest of these is the War in Afghanistan, which is responsible for 456 British fatalities. The UK’s involvement in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria is also ongoing, although unlike the Iraq War that took place between 2003 and 2011, the conflict is fought primarily by the air force.  

Number of operational deaths of the armed forces of the United Kingdom (UK) from 1945 to 2020, by theater

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Sources

Release date

March 2020

Region

United Kingdom

Survey time period

September 3, 1945 to February 29, 2020

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Statistics on "UK armed forces"

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