Having finished touring and enjoying a break from recording, The Beatles were free to explore solo projects for the first time. John Lennon accepted an invitation from director Richard Lester to appear in his film How I Won The War.
There were many reasons for doing it: a) it was Dick Lester and he asked me; b) it was anti-war; and c) I didn’t know what to do because The Beatles had stopped touring and I thought if I stopped and thought about it I was going to have a big bum trip for nine months so I tried to avoid the depression of the change of life by leaping into the movie. The thing I remember is that Dick Lester had more fun than I did.
Lester gave Lennon the role of Private Gripweed. It wasn’t a major part, but did represent a welcome distraction from the otherwise idling Beatle. It was also his first – and only – acting role away from the group.
On this day he flew to Hanover, Germany, for the first part of filming. He stayed in the country until 15 September, filming at a NATO tank range in Celle, a town situated just outside Hanover.