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How Fred Lennon Planned to Kidnap John Lennon

Updated on July 23, 2012
Fred Lennon - died in 1976
Fred Lennon - died in 1976
Julia Lennon died in 1957
Julia Lennon died in 1957

Being a parent is an amazing event in your life. Watching a birth of something so small and then watching a child grow into someone you, as a parent, never envisioned or remotely contemplated. Many now famous celebs started as normal everyday kids, no special or different than any other.

John Lennon was no different. Now, revered as a rock legend with The Beatles, none of this could have been predicted by either of his dad or mom, Fred and Julia Lennon. Physically, John resembled his dad, emotionally, he inherited genes of both parents.

The year was 1928. That is when John's parents first met at Sefton Park in Liverpool. John's dad, Fred, was only 16 when the orphanage set him free and he stumbled onto another teen, Julia, literally, bumping into him. For the next 10 years, the dated off and on. Julia's family despised him, Julia thought Fred was witty and he played the banjo. Julia, herself, was a woman who was quite headstrong, freewheeling. She loved to party. Fred worked as a steward on an ocean liner. Then, in 1938, partly on a lark, they raced off to get married. Julia sort of did it to spite her family wishes. After the marriage, the celebrated by watching a movie and each then returned to their own residences. Soon, Fred was gone at sea and in 1940, John Lennon was born. Fred never really saw John, as he was at sea. He sent support payments to Julia but by 1942, they stopped. Julia didn't really care. Julia soon took John to her sister, Mimi. She would become John's mother for most of his life. Fred, now worked aboard Liberty transport ships crossing the Atlantic from New York to England and to Africa. While in New York, he missed his ship because of a drunken stupor and authorities tossed him in jail on Ellis Island. He caught a ship heading for Africa and while on aboard was busted for stealing liquor. Once the ship docked, he was tossed in jail for three months.

By the time 1945 arrived, Julia had decided to get a divorce. That is when Fred finally returned to see the son he never knew. He wanted to bond and had a plan to kidnap John and start a new life in New Zealand. Fred had rented a cottage in Blackpool and while Julia did not like the idea of John going away, Fred did have a right to have John stay with him.

Fred Lennon's plan nearly worked. On the day before Fred and John were to board a transport for NZ, Julia showed up at the front door unannounced. Fred was startled. Julia demanded John back, time was up. That is when Fred told Julia his plan. Julia was not going to let it happen. For a brief moment, Fred tried to coax Julia into coming also. She refused and both parents now began fighting over John at the doorstep. After minutes of yelling and anger, Fred and Julia decided to allow John, 5, to make the most critical decision of his early life. Which parent does he love more? Fred called John from a back room and John's face lit up when he saw his mom. John wanted both parents. In the end, Fred told him that he had decide because they were not getting back together.

John looked at both and then selected his dad. Fred beamed. Julia, moved closer, and asked, " Are you sure, now"? John simply looked at his dad. Without much emotion, Julia kissed John and left down the sidewalk. John watched as he clung to his dad's leg. It proved too much for John as he suddenly darted for his mom screaming, "Mummy!"

That last moment, image that Fred Lennon saw would be the last time he saw John until in 1965. That is when he found out his son was a Beatle, and famous, more rich than Fred could imagine. When John and Fred met in 1965, Fred was a dishwasher at a hotel. He was haggard from a hard life. John recalled, "I felt sorry for him, but nothing more." Feeling pity, John bought his dad a small house to live his remaining years in.

They would never see nor speak together again.


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    • montecristo profile image

      Angel Caleb Santos 5 years ago from Hampton Roads, Virginia

      Interesting story. Thanks for sharing!

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      Well, John's early years is a very modern story today, back when it was not common. One could replay the whole event today. I find how John dealt with his dad after he was so famous interesting.

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 5 years ago from USA

      Interesting story. I haven't ever been a follower of the Beatles, but to learn childhood histories of legends can be fascinating.