January 18, 1788 — The First Fleet lands in Botany Bay

An advance party for the First Fleet to colonise Australia entered Botany Bay on this day. The Governor of the colony, Arthur Phillip, sailed the armed tender Supply into the bay, and weighed anchor. Two days later, they were joined by the other ships of the Fleet. However, the poor quality of the soil led to the entire fleet decamping, and landing instead in Port Jackson 8 days later, at what was named Sydney Cove by the Governor.

The French explorer La Perouse entered Botany Bay on the same day, January 26, too late to claim the land for France. The British penal colony was, of course, never heard from again.

January 18, 1943 — “We’ll Meet Again” premieres

Named after her best known song, Vera Lynn’s 1943 movie “We’ll Meet Again” was her second film, but her most successful. Much like her character in the film – a dancer who discovers that she is better suited to being a singer – acting didn’t work as well for Lynn as singing.

She spent much of the war years working with ENSA, performing in front of troops in Burma, India and Egypt, and was one of Britain’s greatest sweethearts and inspirational figures during World War Two. For her service to the nation and Empire’s morale, she has been awarded the OBE, made a Dame and even given the Burma Star (a military honour).

Cover of sheet music for "We'll Meet Again" by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles.jpg
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As mentioned in:

Vera — Pink Floyd

January 18, 1973 — Timothy Leary is arrested in Afghanistan

Tim Leary had been free for a couple of years when the feds caught up with him in Afghanistan. He’d broken out of the California state prison where he’d been sent, and knocked around the world for a couple of years looking for a place to stay. He’d even been placed under “revolutionary arrest” by Eldridge Cleaver in Algeria, although not for long.

The United States did not, at that time, have an extradition treaty with Afghanistan, and Leary’s arrest there was as controversial as anything else about the man. He was busted while disembarking from a plane, which according to treaty was supposedly US territory.

They brought him back home and dropped him into solitary at Folsom, in the cell next Charlie Manson. The two did not get along at all, as murderers and pacifists so frequently don’t.