Winston Churchill was mistakenly named Britain's Great War Prime Minister by almost half of those questioned for the SSAFA poll - rather than David Lloyd George (statue in the background) who took over from Herbert Asquith in December 1916 (Photo: Centenary News)

Call to share WW1 stories with ‘unaware’ Millennials

Posted on on 23 February 2018
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A UK armed forces charity is urging families to pass on their First World War stories, after research suggesting many young people are unaware of the historical facts.

According to the poll for SSAFA, more than half of 18-24 year olds (58 per cent) didn’t know the Battle of the Somme took place in France, and 19 per cent thought Britain was fighting against the French in WW1.

Less than half (45 per cent) knew that Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination in 1914 triggered the Great War, with six per cent believing it was the murder of US President John F. Kennedy, which didn't happen until 1963.

The poll also revealed confusion over the names of Britain’s war leaders, and the reigning monarch of the time, King George V.

SSAFA’s Director, Justine Baynes, said: "Millennials are the first generation who may not have known a family member who fought in World War One so it’s not surprising that there may be a lack of knowledge about the war.

"The further we move away from the conflict, the more important it becomes to keep the World War One stories of bravery and courage alive and commemorate those who gave their lives for our country."

See more of the poll results here.

SSAFA, formerly known as the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, was founded in 1885 and was called upon to support the families left behind after the Great War.

A number of initiatives have already been launched during the 2014-2018 Centenary to raise awareness of WW1 among young people. We list some below.

Never Such Innocence aims to engage children in commemorations through the creative arts.  The charity was founded by Lady Lucy French, great grand-daughter of Field Marshal Sir John French, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces sent to France in 1914.

In 2017, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission marked its own Centenary with the creation of a new charity, the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation (CWGF) to 'bridge the generation gap' in remembrance.

14-18 NOW, the UK’s Century cultural programme, has also sought to engage new audiences, notably commissioning public outdoor events, such as the live tribute We’re Here Because We’re Here to mark the 100th anniversary of the First Day of the Somme. 14-18 NOW says more than 7.5 million young people have experienced its projects so far.

Source: SSAFA

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: CN Editorial Team