SECTARIANISM and the city's traditional football divide have been blamed for the findings of a survey which uncovered that Glaswegian men perceived next year's First World War commemorations as an opportunity to foist "Britishness" on Scots ahead of the referendum.

The poll, carried out on behalf of the Imperial War Museum and the think tank British Future, found men in Glasgow tended to view the anniversary as a Unionist event which would be used to undermine the case for Scottish independence six weeks before the vote.

Events marking 100 years since the start of the war will be held on July 28, 2014, with the referendum vote following on September 18.

Researchers questioned focus groups in Glasgow, Birmingham and High Wycombe. While women in Glasgow, like their counterparts south of the Border, thought about the centenary in terms of empathy for soldiers and their families and felt it was a time to remember "the debt to those who died", Glaswegian men were preoccupied with the issue of Scottish identity and the politics of the centenary.

For Glaswegian men the "starting point was scepticism about the political uses of this event so close to the referendum, and distance from a 'British' event.

"Moreover, the context of sectarianism (and football) in Glasgow in particular framed the male discussion of British identity, the military and Remembrance".

Men in Glasgow also felt disengaged from the event as a result of its "Britishness", according to reseachers. This was less of a problem for women who felt "the war was fought as Britain and should be remembered accordingly".

However, both men and women were surprised when told by researchers about the scale of Glasgow's involvement in the war - some 200,000 men from the city signed up to fight and 17,695 lost their lives.

The report noted "several participants had earlier wondered or questioned whether Scotland has been particularly involved in the First World War, as well as in the Second World War".

In Glasgow, when participants were asked "What are the important events in British History which have an impact on our country today?", the top answers were William Wallace, Bannockburn, Mary Queen of Scots, World War Two and the invention of the telephone. English respondents considered world wars, the royal family and the creation of the NHS as most important.

However, it is probably the findings of two separate YouGov polls, also commissioned by the IWM and British Future, which will give historians the biggest headache.

The polls, which questioned 3000 people across the UK in September and October last year, found just two-thirds of Britons (66%) knew that the war started in 1914. Even fewer (58%) knew it ended in 1918. White men were most likely to know the dates.

Just 14% of those polled knew relatives had fought in the First World War and what they did.

Statistically, Scots were least likely to support the statement that the centenary was a "once -in-a-generation event ... which we should mark", with 62% agreeing against a UK average of 69%.

At the same time, Scots were most likely - 25% against a 16% UK average - to agree that "we already spend too much time looking at the past".

The findings come as Culture Secretary Maria Miller prepares to make an announcement today detailing commemorations.

A spokeswoman for PoppyScotland, which helps ex-servicemen and women and their families, said: "Scotland made huge and tragic sacrifices during the First World War, as did all parts of the British Isles and indeed all countries participating in the war. Since both the UK and Scottish Governments are committed to marking important anniversaries from the conflict with appropriate solemnity and dignity it seems unlikely either would wish to make political capital from this."

A spokesman for pro-independence campaign Yes Scotland said: "The commemoration of World War One will be a time of great significance, poignancy and reflection in Scotland and the UK as a whole … The centenary will be an opportunity for all to pay their respects to the many millions of people who fought and died in the World War One for the sake of future generations."