Exactly a year before the country starts remembering the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War - August 4, 1914 - it is becoming clearer what sort of commemoration people actually want.

A survey of attitudes published today by the Imperial War Museum and British Future, an independent think tank, reveals that a majority, 69%, believe this will be "a once in a generation moment and an opportunity which we should mark to make sure we know about our shared history and why remembrance matters".

There is also a reasonable consensus that the conflict is relevant and has some bearing on people's lives. For example, across Britain, a majority of women share a sense of "empathy with the impact on families, soldiers and communities" and feel that commemoration should be more about tone than content.

But within that comfortable and perhaps expected harmony there are national differences. The most striking is the Scottish response, which is centred on Glasgow. Here, men showed themselves to be much more concerned about the issue of Scottish identity and the politics behind the commemoration of the centenary while women were more likely to respond to the need to recognise "the debt to those who died".

The findings have relevance and will surely make an impact on Scottish political thinking with the referendum on independence also a year away. The timings are certainly significant. On August 3, 2014, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games will come to an end and on the following day, the Queen will be joined at Glasgow Cathedral by heads of state and others to remember the fateful decision to go to war 100 years ago. Six weeks later, Scotland goes to the polls to decide whether or not to remain in the Union.

What emerges from the Glasgow figures is that men are more concerned about the commemoration being a "British" event which could influence the referendum while women see it as a shared moment in British history. As Sunder Katwala, director of British Future puts it: "The women were pleased that the Queen would be at Glasgow Cathedral; the men wondered who had put her up to it."

The findings should come with a health warning, namely that Glasgow is not the rest of Scotland. The city more than played its part in the first world war. During the fighting some 200,000 men joined up in the armed forces and of their number 17,695 did not return - almost one in 40. In addition, Glasgow was Britain's main workshop of war, with thousands of women conscripted into the armaments industry, and it was also the centre of the "Red Clydeside" industrial protests and the rent-strike opposition to war-time profiteering.

That makes Glasgow a crucial ingredient of the British and the Scottish response to the war, but it is not the whole story. If, for example, the pollsters had taken their findings from a different part of the Scotland, say from the Western Isles, the response might well have been different.

Out of a population of 29,603 in the 1911 census, 6712 Lewismen saw service between 1914 and 1919; when the Scottish casualty lists were finally tallied the ­percentage of Lewismen killed during the war stood at 17% of those who served, one of the highest proportions in the UK. The island also suffered from the Iolaire tragedy when a naval ship bringing sailors home foundered outside Stornoway harbour on the first day of 1919.

Or the survey could have gone to Dundee where, on each September 25, the lamp in the granite obelisk on the city's Law is lit to commemorate the men of the city who fell at the Battle of Loos in 1915. The city's death toll was 4213 out of a population of 180,000, but for that matter, given the total Scottish death toll of around 149,000, the pollsters could have gone to any part of Scotland to collect their evidence. As the distinguished novelist Ian Hay remarked when the Scottish National War Memorial was opened in Edinburgh Castle in 1928, "big England's sorrow is national, little Scotland's is personal".

But there is more to the commemoration than computing casualties because not everyone who went to war was killed. What seems to be missing from the survey is any recognition that, but for the outbreak of war, Scotland might have achieved devolution and the restoration of a Scottish parliament. In May 1914, a Home Rule Bill had passed its second reading in the House of Commons and as it had the backing of the ruling Liberal government, which had won 80% of Scotland's 72 seats at the previous General Election, it stood a good chance of being made law. Who knows? For Scotland, lost devolution and a referendum yet to come could still produce the final impact of the First World War.

Trevor Royle is the Sunday Herald's Diplomatic Editor. He sits on the Scottish Government's Advisory Panel for commemorating the First World War. He is writing in a personal capacity as the author of Flowers of the Forest: Scotland and the First World War (Birlinn)