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Fiona Bruce opens up about family member's mysterious death

The Question Time host delved into her family's past back in 2009

fiona bruce
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
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Fiona Bruce uncovered quite the family mystery when she appeared on Who Do You Think You Are? back in 2009.

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The 56-year-old, who is the face of BBC shows Antiques Roadshow and Question Time, discovered that her great-grandfather, Frederick Crouch, died in World War One in mysterious circumstances.

The family story is that Frederick failed to duck down when shells began falling nearby, although everyone around him dived for cover. A letter, written by Frederick's widow to her son's school soon after the war, reveals the truth behind the story.

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During the show, Fiona learnt that her great-grandfather fought at the front of the First World War and was sent to hospital for nine months with shell shock. He then returned to Ypres, where he was killed just three weeks later. It emerged that he may have later committed suicide by deliberately failing to duck a bomb blast.

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In order to find out more about Frederick, who is believed to have joined the army to escape his parents, Fiona delved into the life of Frederick's father - a Victorian photographer called William Crouch.

Fiona's great-great-grandfather was a convicted fraudster who abandoned a failing business to escape his debtors. He was sent to prison after he resorted to taking money from young apprentices as he tried to establish himself as a society photographer.

fiona bruce bbc host© Photo: Getty Images

The BBC host appeared on Who Do You Think You Are? back in 2009

"The whole thing was a scam," Fiona said on the show. "He was fleecing left, right and centre." He also had an eye for the ladies and at the age of 44 moved in with a woman little more than half his age following the death of his first wife.

"He can't have been exactly father material - a rogue, always on the run," added the reporter. "I find him entertaining, but the impact he had on his family was devastating."

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