Bear Grylls is ‘knocked sideways’ by great-uncle’s death aged 16 in Who Do You Think You


Bear Grylls admitted he was ‘knocked sideways’ when he unveiled truth about his great-uncle’s death and uncovered a surprising Royal connection in an upcoming episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

Speaking to MailOnline and other press, the adventurer, 48, revealed there was a ‘sadness behind his grandfather’s eyes,’ that he never understood, until now. 

In the episode which airs June 15, Bear sets out to unearth where his ‘love of the wild comes from,’ as he explores his family’s military past, their defining traits and ‘a link to Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.’

Recalling his experience on the show, the TV presenter described the ’emotional and moving’ discovery when he traced his Grandpa Neville’s ‘journey of loss’ after the passing of his brother Richard. 

He also learns more about his paternal-grandfather, Grandpa Ted, who was part of a ‘clandestine special forces unit.’ 

Emotional: Bear Grylls, 48, admitted he was 'knocked sideways' when he unveiled his great-uncle's death and uncovered a surprising Royal connection in Who Do You Think You Are?

Emotional: Bear Grylls, 48, admitted he was ‘knocked sideways’ when he unveiled his great-uncle’s death and uncovered a surprising Royal connection in Who Do You Think You Are?

History: Speaking to MailOnline and other press, the adventurer revealed there was a 'sadness behind his grandfather's eyes,' that he never understood, until now (Bear pictured with his Grandpa Neville and Lara Fawcett)

History: Speaking to MailOnline and other press, the adventurer revealed there was a ‘sadness behind his grandfather’s eyes,’ that he never understood, until now (Bear pictured with his Grandpa Neville and Lara Fawcett) 

Speaking about his experience, Bear explained: ‘I never understood what that family went through but standing in that room where my grandfather and all his siblings would have gathered after their brothers death, it really hit me.’ 

Adding of his great-grandfather Rev Lionel Ford, he said how his ‘strength became his biggest weakness’ when he lost his 16-year-old son. 

‘My great grandfather, as a huge family man, I realised that his biggest strength was now his greatest weakness. He held his son’s hand while he was dying, it really whacked me sideways.

‘My grandfather would sometimes mention his brother. That pain and loss stayed with him for all of his life but I could never understand where it came from. 

‘I knew there was a broken bit of his heart whenever he was reminded about his brother. There was a sadness behind his eyes.’

Upon tracing his ancestry, Bear explained how it ‘shed light on his character’ as he drew parallels between himself and his family members.

‘I think I’ve always known the military has been a big part of my family but this took it to a whole another level for me and it answered so many questions about the natural traits that are in my life but I never understood where they came from,’ he said. 

Tracing his father’s side, Bear discovers Grandpa Ted’s role within Target Force, and shared how he wished he ‘could’ve spent time with him.’

Family: In the episode which airs June 15, Bear sets out to unearth where his 'love of the wild comes from,' as he explores his family's military past (Ted Grylls, pictured)

Family: In the episode which airs June 15, Bear sets out to unearth where his ‘love of the wild comes from,’ as he explores his family’s military past (Ted Grylls, pictured)

Past: The TV presenter described the 'emotional and moving' discovery when he traced his Grandpa Neville's 'journey of loss' after the passing of his brother Richard (Lionel Ford with wife and seven children, including Bear's Grandpa Neville and great uncle Richard, pictured)

Past: The TV presenter described the ’emotional and moving’ discovery when he traced his Grandpa Neville’s ‘journey of loss’ after the passing of his brother Richard (Lionel Ford with wife and seven children, including Bear’s Grandpa Neville and great uncle Richard, pictured)

‘I just wish I had known more about his role with Target Force whilst he was alive so we could have talked about that more,’ he continued. 

‘I wish I could have smoked a pipe with him and heard some of those stories first hand. And not judged a book by a cover and been so intimidated by him.

‘I realised that sometimes heroes are people who find themselves in the right place at the right time, fulfilling a purpose – a role – and to me he embodied that. 

‘He wasn’t some musclebound traditional type of hero; he was quite geeky but had this incredible knowledge of tanks and was happy to think left field about how to avoid the catastrophe of the first allied attempt to get all these tanks ashore in France where they all just got destroyed. He was in the right place at the right time.’

Speaking his Royal connection, Bear added: ‘If you go all the way back in my family history, you find that link to Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland. 

‘He only started to become effective once he’d gone on his own into the mountains and spent a year living off the land where he came to understand two things. Firstly, never give up. 

‘Secondly, don’t use formal armies that line up to face one another, but instead using the mountains, using the land, using the locals; essentially, guerrilla warfare.’

Speaking of what he'd learnt, Bear concluded: 'Faith, family, path left trodden and to never give up. My hope for my children and grandchildren is that if they feel that, then to follow it'

Speaking of what he’d learnt, Bear concluded: ‘Faith, family, path left trodden and to never give up. My hope for my children and grandchildren is that if they feel that, then to follow it’

Bear concluded: ‘What I have learnt is taking the path less trodden is right but it is hard. Every one tells you to do the conversional things, people like to keep you doing conventional stuff – like go to school, go to university. 

‘Faith, family, path left trodden and to never give up. My hope for my children and grandchildren is that if they feel that then to follow it, it’s in their DNA.’

‘I hope they listen to what is going on inside their hearts and they aren’t scared to go for it.’

Who Do You Think You Are? Is on BBC One at 9pm on Thursday 15 June and on BBC iPlayer. 



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