A survey commissioned by The London Mint Office has shown the levels of knowledge of World War I amongst the people of the UK in this centenary year to commemorate its end – including 44% of 18-34 year olds who don’t know when the First World War started, and 36% of all ages who don’t know if any of their relatives served in it.

The London Mint Office produces coins, medals and ingots to commemorate world events and historic milestones and to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, The London Mint Office has partnered with In Flanders Fields Museum, which conserves the very strong Word War I links with the West Flanders region of Belgium where more than 600,000 fell.

An online survey of over 2,000 adults from across the country was undertaken in October by Opinium on behalf of The London Mint Office, and it throws up some interesting findings. It is encouraging that 86% know that Remembrance Day is 11th November, 77% know the length of the war, and 70% are aware that 2018 marks 100 years since WWI ended. However, a surprising 28% (increasing to 44% for 18-34 year olds) are unaware that the war began in 1914. And sadly 36% of respondents were unaware if any of their relatives served in the First World War.

Falklands war veteran, Simon Weston, in the City of London

Military Ambassador for The London Mint Office is Simon Weston CBE, known for his efforts during the Falklands Conflict, whose Scottish grandfather played a role in both world wars, helping to keep fighter aircraft in the skies. Simon said: “I strongly believe that our history should be passed to younger generations and the results of this survey show just how important this truly is. Learning that an astonishing 44% of 18-34 year olds didn’t know when the First World War started was a moment of realisation that, no matter whether we are commemorating an anniversary or not, our history should always be remembered, as it made our country what it is today.”

Over four in five (84%) UK adults think we should be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, including 82% of 18 to 34 year olds. In terms of casualties, 49% of those asked are correct in thinking there were approximately 40 million military and civilian casualties of WWI, yet a third (32%) believe incorrectly that fewer people died in the Second World War.

When it comes to the Axis powers who fought against Britain, only 41% of the survey listed Austria and 29% counted Turkey amongst them, and surprisingly 22% thought Japan was on the side of the Germans in WWI, confusing history with the Second World War.

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