Most Britons ignorant over Battle of Waterloo: poll

17th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

A survey of Britons published Friday in the build-up to the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo found three-quarters knew little or nothing about it -- while many thought France won.

The poll of 2,070 people for the National Army Museum found 73 percent either knew nothing or next to nothing about the battle, one of the most important in the nation's history.

When asked what came to mind when Waterloo was mentioned, 54 percent of people aged 18 to 24 said the London railway station named after the battle, while 46 percent cited the Eurovision-winning song by Swedish pop group ABBA.

The Battle of Waterloo, fought outside Brussels in 1815, saw the Duke of Wellington lead the British and allied forces to a final, decisive victory over French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

But the survey found only 53 percent knew Wellington commanded the British troops.

The other 47 percent thought it could have been 16th-century navigator Francis Drake, Britain's World War II prime minister Winston Churchill, King Arthur, who ruled in the fifth century, and even the wizard Albus Dumbledore from the "Harry Potter" books.

Fourteen percent thought Napoleon actually won.

"Despite the Battle of Waterloo being an iconic moment in British history, UK public awareness is dramatically low," said Janice Murray, director-general of the National Army Museum.

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© 2015 AFP

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