Today’s look at the world of the Royal Occultist focuses on an old friend and staunch ally of Charles St. Cyprian, the ex-soldier and adventurer, Bobby Ogden, as well as his fellow ‘Unnameables’.
Sergeant Robert ‘Bobby’ Ogden, formerly of the 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, currently of no fixed abode. Ogden and his squad were seconded to then-Royal Occultist Thomas Carnacki during the Great War, and served as bodyguards, escorts and general dogsbodies for both Carnacki and his apprentice, Charles St. Cyprian.
Nicknamed the ‘Unnameables’, Ogden and his men faced any number of unnatural opponents in the early years of the war, including a nest of vampires beneath St. Martin’s Church in Ypres and the abominable Hound of Mons.
While the unit did not escape front line duties entirely, they often found themselves fighting a different sort of war – one that left many of them dead, and the survivors with scars, both physical and otherwise. In Ogden’s case, he lost his arm at the Kemmelberg, during the Fourth Battle of Ypres in April 1918. It was during this same battle that Carnacki lost his life, and St. Cyprian was invalided out for the duration of the war. Despite all of the eldritch terrors they’d faced, it was bad luck and enemy artillery that spelled the end of the ‘Unnameables’.
After the war ended, Ogden attempted to forget the horrors he’d experienced, but found himself drawn into the Royal Occultist’s orbit more than once, often to his chagrin. Despite his missing limb, Ogden has lost little of his former vigour, and has proved an able ally, most notably during the sinister events surrounding Bethnal Green Military Hospital in November of 1919.
Ogden, like Philip Wendy-Smythe, was conceived as something of a sidekick for the Royal Occultist. I like peppering the stories with old acquaintances, in order to give the characters some degree of life outside the constraints of the plot. Too, Ogden serves as a connection to St. Cyprian’s time in the trenches. Unlike the bumbling Wendy-Smythe, he holds no illusions as to St. Cyprian’s somewhat haphazard methodology, and can act as foil for the purposes of humour.
I’m hoping to write more WWI-era Unnameables stories. While I won’t be spinning them off into their own thing, I do want to explore that period of the Royal Occultist’s adventures a bit more. I’d also like to do a few more Post-War Ogden appearances, perhaps dealing with the fall-out of some of he and St. Cyprian’s earlier adventures.