While her husband Alf was away at sea, Julia Lennon lived with their son John at the Dairy Cottage, 120a Allerton Road in Woolton, Liverpool. The cottage was owned by George Smith, the husband of Julia’s sister Mimi.
As Alf was so often away at sea, Julia often spent evenings at dance halls. In 1942 she met a Welsh soldier known as Taffy Williams, who was stationed at Mossley Hill barracks in Liverpool.
Julia fell pregnant by Williams in late 1944, although initially she claimed she had been raped by an unknown soldier. Williams refused to live with her unless she gave up John, as he didn’t want the shame of being with a married woman and her son, but the relationship ended when she refused.
When Alf Lennon returned to Liverpool in 1944 he offered to look after Julia, John and the unborn baby, but Julia told him their relationship was over.
Julia gave birth on 19 June 1945. Her daughter, named Victoria Elizabeth, was born at the Salvation Army’s Elmswood Infirmary on Liverpool’s North Mossley Hill Road.
After pressure from Julia’s family, Victoria was given up for adoption to a Norwegian Salvation Army captain, Peder Pedersen, and his wife Margaret. The child was renamed Ingrid Marie Pedersen and was raised in Crosby, England.
John Lennon was never told about his half-sister’s existence. Ingrid discovered her famous sibling, however, in 1966 while working as a nurse. Wishing to get married, she had to produce her birth certificate and found that she was related to a Beatle.
As soon as I became aware that John was my brother I started to collect every cutting on him I could find and hid them in a drawer in my bedroom. I was terrified in case my parents found out. It would have been a betrayal of them.
I felt I couldn’t contact John when my adoptive mother was still alive. I felt an incredible loyalty to her because I believe she knew I was dad’s real daughter and she took me in as her own daughter with no obvious resentment about his affair with Julia.
I knew Mum kept a tin box in her wardrobe that contained family papers. When no one was around I opened it, trembling. I found a yellowing, dog-eared adoption paper that had been issued by Liverpool County Court. Then I saw my full name: Lillian Ingrid Maria Pedersen, and my birth date. Above that were the three words I had been looking for: Victoria Elizabeth Lennon – the name I was born with. My real mother’s name, Julia Lennon, was also there. I burst into tears.
Melbourne Sunday Herald Sun
Also on this day...
- 2018: Paul McCartney announces new single I Don’t Know/Come On To Me
- 2015: Paul McCartney live at Firefly Music Festival, Dover, Delaware
- 2012: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr pay tribute to Victor Spinetti
- 2009: Beatles’ first management contract up for grabs
- 1967: Paul McCartney admits taking LSD
- 1967: Recording: All You Need Is Love
- 1964: Live: Sydney Stadium, Sydney
- 1964: UK EP release: Long Tall Sally
- 1963: Radio: Easy Beat
- 1963: Derek Taylor interviews Brian Epstein
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.