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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 October 2005, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Scots 'ignorant' about Trafalgar
HMS Victory
HMS Victory was Nelson's ship
Many Scots are "woefully" ignorant of the Battle of Trafalgar, a survey to mark its 200th anniversary suggests.

Four out of five Scots (83%) cannot name the location of Admiral Lord Nelson's famous naval victory.

One in five Scots did not know who fought in the battle and 3% thought it was between Scotland and England, according to the Woodland Trust.

The British under Nelson won a decisive naval battle off southern Spain against the French and Spanish.

Naval heritage

The Woodland Trust Scotland is planting five woods in Scotland as part of a UK project to plant a wood for each of the 33 ships in Nelson's battle fleet.

The survey found that 45% of Scots did not know Nelson's ship was called HMS Victory, and 15% did not know Nelson's fleet was made of wood.

"The findings suggest Scots need to reacquaint themselves with their history books, as their historical and naval knowledge is far from ship-shape," said a trust spokesman.

Across the UK, the trust's survey found that 74% of respondents could not name the location of the battle.

It found that in the Yorkshire TV region 85% of people could not answer where the battle took place.

However, in the Anglia region almost half (49%) correctly identified the site of the battle.

I am proud to represent Scotland's naval community at this service, which commemorates a battle that changed history
Rear Admiral Nick Harris

The Woodland Trust project is intended to celebrate the role played by timber in Britain's naval heritage.

At least 15,000 children across the UK will help plant 250,000 trees at the 33 sites.

The battle gave the navy its most famous triumph and immortalised the memory of Nelson who was shot and died of his wounds at the moment of his greatest victory.

More than 1,000 beacons will be lit around the country during the evening of Trafalgar Day on 21 October.

Wreaths were laid at Calton Hill in Edinburgh on Saturday to mark the anniversary.

Many connections

Those attending included Rear Admiral Nick Harris, the Flag Officer, Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland.

He said there were "many connections" between Scotland and Trafalgar.

"Around 30% of the fleet's crew hailed from Scotland and Scottish industry provided timber products, sails, ropes, iron cannons and iron balls," he said.

"I am proud to represent Scotland's naval community at this service, which commemorates a battle that changed history."

Youngest citizens

The ceremony at the Lord Nelson Monument was also attended by 60 members of HMS Edinburgh's 286 crew.

Lord Provost Lesley Hinds said: "A large number of the Trafalgar fleet's crew were from Edinburgh. This included able seamen, midshipmen and armourer's mates.

"Even our youngest citizens demonstrated their grit as crew members, with some as young as 14 taking part and, astonishingly, a 10-year-old cabin boy from Leith."

Trafalgar Weekend events
04 Oct 05 |  UK


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