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Most Britons ignorant over Battle of Waterloo: National Army Museum poll
A boy looks at a display showing former French Emperor Napoleon's hat and one worn by England's Duke of Wellington at the "Napoleon-Wellington, Shared Destinies" exhibition as part of the events marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, at the Wellington Museum in Waterloo, on April 8, 2015. Waterloo, a town in Brussels' suburbs, is gearing up to celebrate the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, which marked the end of French Emperor Napoleon, with a re-enactment show of the battle on June 19-20, 2015, involving some 5000 re-enactors, 300 horses and 100 canons. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand.


LONDON (AFP).- 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.



© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse






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