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Fiona Bruce

Fiona's great-grandfather, Frederick Crouch, died in the First World War under mysterious circumstances. The family story is that Frederick failed to duck down when shells began falling nearby, despite the fact everyone else around him dived for cover. A letter, written by Frederick's widow to her son's school soon after the war, reveals the sad truth behind the story.

Another family story about Frederick is that he joined the army to escape his parents. Hoping to understand the reasons, Fiona investigates the life of Frederick's father, seemingly a highly-respected Victorian photographer. It soon becomes clear that all is not as it first appears with William Crouch, who emerges as a larger-than-life rogue and star of a celebrated court case.

Fiona next returns to the home of the Bruce family, the small Scottish fishing village of Hopeman, where her family eked out a living for generations. Documents she uncovers in the local library reveal that some of the hardships her family faced were at least a little self-inflicted


  • 10. At 6:52pm on 12 Feb 2009, SussexPhotoHistory wrote:

    I am the "Photo Historian" who had previously made a study of the photographer William Morris Crouch and met up with Fiona Bruce in Bexhill for the TV programme. I am particularly interested in the comment posted by Member U13826230, who has two photographs taken at William Crouch's Sackville Studio in Sea Road, Bexhill. I believe William Crouch was running a respectable business at his Bexhill studio between 1898 and January 1903 and there is evidence that he took portraits of the leading members of the Bexhill community. For instance, in 1902, George Vale, the Deputy Mayor of Bexhill, sat for his official portrait at Crouch's Sackville Studio. This portrait and further details of William Crouch's photographic career can be seen on my "Sussex PhotoHistory" website. Crouch's fraudulent activities took place during the six years before he moved to Bexhill in 1898 and in the eleven months he spent in London before his arrest at the end of 1903. His business in Bexhill between these dates was probably legitimate.
    I would like the opportunity to see the two photographs mentioned by U13826230 and would appreciate it if this Member would contact me either via the "Sussex PhotoHistory" website or the link provided on the Fiona Bruce "How We Did It" section under "Family Rogue" on the official BBC "Who Do You Think You Are" website.
    Turning to the question of why U13826230's aunt was in Bexhill. At this time (1898-1902), Bexhill was a fashionable seaside holiday resort and it was also the base for various convalescent homes - one very large one being located in Sea Road, not that far from Crouch's photographic studio.

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  • 11. At 9:45pm on 12 Feb 2009, U13829190 wrote:

    I was wondering if anyone could tell me how I can contact the National Record's Office which was mentioned? It was where Fiona got William Crouch's death certificate. I thought only Scotlands People sold these but I want to know if the National Records Office charge differently for them.

    Liked the baddie photographer story but would have liked a bit more on the women of the family who had to put up with these striving men.

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  • 12. At 4:38pm on 13 Mar 2009, U13870563 wrote:

    It was very interesting watching the programme with Fiona Bruce, i came away thinking I may be related to her as my gandmother was also a Sutherland born in 1917, either in Findochty or Buckie, but knowing that they were a fishing family. Please help me in finding out if i am correct.

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