Friday, 17 April 2015
A poll which took place 2 months ahead of the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo – one of the most stunning British victories – revealed how ignorant British subjects are, to the point where some actually think Napoleon’s France won on the day. 18-24-year-olds came up with the most surprising answers. When asked what Waterloo meant to them, 54%mentioned the eponymous train station, 46% the 1974 hit song by Swedish pop group Abba, and only 39% are aware of the armed attack which ended the French emperor’s reign.
A total of 53% of those polled knew that the duke of Wellington led the British forces. The 47% who did not mentioned Sir Francis Drake (18th century pirate and politician), Winston Churchill (prime minister during WW2), King Arthur (Middle Ages legend), and Albus Dumbledore (fictional hero from the Harry Potter saga).
However, the most shocking answer for the Time was the one given by 14% of people polled and attributing the June 18th, 1815 victory in Waterloo (close to Brussels) to the French.
Janice Murray, director of the National Army Museum in London, regretted “the appalling level of ignorance about this emblematic moment of British history.”