Isn’t the Spanish Armada a dish? Schoolchildren’s nautical knowledge exposed


British kids reckon the Spanish Armada is a national dish, Walter Raleigh invented the bicycle and James Cook was the captain of Starship Enterprise, according to research released today.

Schoolchildren are clueless about nautical history, study reveals

The worrying stats emerged from a study of 2,000 schoolchildren which found most of them are clueless when it comes to nautical history.

One in twenty kids believe the Spanish Armada is a tapas-style cuisine, NOT the fleet of ships that sailed against the English.

And one in six thought Raleigh was the brains behind the Chopper, not the adventurer responsible for bringing tobacco and potato back to our home shores.

While 14 per cent believe Cook uttered ‘Beam me up Scotty’ in Star Trek rather than command the Endeavour in his first voyage of discovery to Australia and New Zealand.

Captain Mark Windsor Royal Navy, of the Sea Cadets, said: ”These findings are really interesting, they highlight that for a lot of young people being part of a maritime nation is something they do not connect with or have much understanding of.

”As an island nation our relationship with the sea is a critical one since much of our food and trade passes over the oceans and our place in the world largely stems from our maritime heritage.

”But it seems children are very confused when it comes to what key historical events occurred on the sea which helped shape the world in which we live.

”Horatio Nelson wouldn’t be impressed to learn kids think he was a football captain and Columbus’ discovery of America went completely unnoticed.

”By picking up a book, exploring the UK and getting involved with activities on the sea, children can become much more clued up.”

The research was carried out to mark Trafalgar Day tomorrow and the Sea Cadets National Trafalgar Day parade on Sunday.

National Trafalgar Day celebrates 205 years since Admiral Lord Nelson’s British fleet defeated the combined might of the French and Spanish.

The report found six in ten youngsters didn’t know the Battle of Waterloo was fought in Belgium, with one in six opting for London’s train station as their answer instead.

Three quarters didn’t realise Trafalgar Square is home to Nelson’s Column, with eight per cent reckoning it’s from Eastenders, while 15 per cent thought it was a shopping centre or chocolate biscuit.

And a worrying one in ten said Horatio Nelson was the captain of the French national football team in the 1990s and the same number said Christopher Columbus discovered gravity.

Only 58 per cent could identify Blackbeard as the feared real-life pirate, with one in ten believing it was Johnny Depp’s character, Jack Sparrow.

While nine per cent thought Francis Drake wrote The Wind in the Willows.

A shocking 22 per cent thought ships evacuated soldiers from DOVER, rather than Dunkirk, and one in six reckon Nelson’s Column commemorates Mandela’s release from captivity.

Only three quarters could identify the English Channel as the body of water between England and France, with one in ten naming the North Sea and six per cent saying the Atlantic.

The study also found one in five kids have never been on a boat or ship, and one in ten can’t remember when the last went to the seaside or a lake.

And five per cent have NEVER stepped foot in the sea.

But 46 per cent said they would like to learn to sail and seven in ten said water activities would be a good and fun thing to do with friends.

Captain Mark Windsor added: ”There is a wealth of opportunity out there for young people to connect with the sea through the challenge of nautical adventure which can also help them to take their first independent steps as adults.

”In the Sea Cadets team work, challenge and independence based on waterborne activity are watch words that enable young people to get a head start in life while having fun.”


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