The term British "possessions" collectively describes the countries that were under British control or protection. This way of describing the dominions, colonies, protectorates and mandates has been used by historians in the past on many occasions. Probably for the fairly logical reason that in describing a colonial era, colonial language tends to get used (Irrespective if the empire was British, Spanish, Portugese, French or German)
My question (which still remains unanswered) regarding the Commonwealth was written in response to the statement made by "Catscradle" that, "In every other circumstance where the Brits have pulled out of the colonies, they have left a civil war behind them."
I would be very interested in hearing what arrogance is involved in stating what is a fact - "..there is a waiting list of five counties wishing to join this organisation (The Commonwealth), who have never been British colonies, or had any historical tie with Britain." Those countries would become members of this organisation as sovereign states not as colonies.