Newspapers and journals: Obituary of Major Charles Gumbleton, 1932

Date: 1932

A very earnest soul-seeker
Major Gumbleton Taken to Heaven from the Midst of an Irish Campaign

Major Chas. Gumbleton, all through his Salvation career, was a very earnest soul-seeker. His zeal and his methods made him an outstanding character from his earliest days. He continued his warfare until he was summoned Home to Heaven, being engaged in a strenuaous campaign at Ballymena, Ireland, when he suddenly passsed away.

Like many another successful man the Major started with very little capital in the way of talent and ability. He was so unpromising that his first application for officership was rejected. He had also an impediment in his speech. But the young salvationist was so sure of his call to this work that when he removed to Weston-super-Mare he made further application. In the matter of his speech he believed that God who had chosen him would make him ready, so he went into a wood to pray for deliverance. After some hours he left the wood freed from his disability, which never returned.

After eleven weeks of training, during which time he was a member of a brigade which campaigned in various parts of the country under the direction of 'Miss Eva' Booth, he received his first appointment, in 1896, to Hednesford. He subsequently commanded Corps in Birmingham, South Yorks, Notts and Derby, and Liverpool Divisions.

After his marriage in 1909, to ensign Nicholls, he held further appointments in Sheffield, Kirkcaldy and Swansea.

Even as a Captain his comrade Officers and Soldiers were impressed by his humble spirit and his zeal for souls. He used often to spend all night in prayer for the salvation of the people among whom he lived and worked. Sometimes he would go out into the fields on a summer night and pass the time in communion with God there.

He had such great power in prayer that wicked men have been known to run from him in fear, though often they would return to pray. His first Lieutenant still cherishes the memory of his gracious influence.

Major Gumbleton used to take a blackboard to the Open-Air Meetings in order to illustrate his talks the more powerfully, and his drawings and cartoons were a striking feature of such meetings. Promotion and advancement never attracted him, his heart was so full of love for his work.

His zeal was unflagging, and even in his later years his wife was often wakened in the night by hearing his earnestly pleading with God for the salvation of the unsaved.

Following his Corps commands the Major was appointed to the Welsh National Headquarters as a Spiritual Special, conducting numerous campaigns throughout the Principality and in many parts of the British Isles.

His influence upon the officers with whom he came into contact during these campaigns is indicated by a letter received by the British Commissioner a few days before the Major's promotion:

'Not only has the visit made a lasting impression upon the town, but the Major's methods during visitation have been a lesson to us. He showed how visitation can be a most effective weapon of salvation warfare. Tears came to the eyes of many as he reasoned with them. After witnessing the Major's methods and coming under the influence of his beautiful spirit both in the meetings and in the home, we cease to wonder why the Army made such rapid strides in its early days. Such men as he were bound to win souls.'

At Ballymena, where he conducted his last campaign, he had the joy of seeing twenty-eight seekers at the Mercy Seat in three nights.

People of the district were much moved by the Major's Home Call. His last hours on earth were spent in door to door visitation and in the last house at which he called he read St John's Gospel iv 32-34 and then sank on his knees and sang:
  Till then I will Thy love proclaim
  With every fleeting breath
  And may the music of Thy name
  Refresh my soul in death.
A few minutes later, in the Officers' Quarters, he passed triumphantly into the presence of God.

At a funeral service, led in Ballymena by Major Donald before the body was taken to Belfast, fifteen seekers were registered. On Thursday evening Brigadier Smith conducted a Remembrance Service in the Belfast I Citadel. The funeral at Cardiff was led by Brigadier Blower, assisted by Brigadier Newton, who also led the Memorial Service on Sunday night, when nine seekers were registered.

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