Chapter 2



This was a time of spiritual declension. Yet in the mending lofts, on the boats and along the quays there were those who had a hunger for God. Days and nights were spent in prayer before the Throne of Grace. God had moved upon the hearts of these people who had little education and whose material means were limited, but who were "far­ben" with Him. They knew the way into God's presence and took time to wait upon the Lord. In a few years time it was proved that, 'They that wait upon the Lord shall mount up with wings as eagles'. (Isaiah 40 v 31) These men 'whose hearts the Lord had touched', had received a vision and were wining to wait upon God until the vision became a reality.  Tremendous things had already taken place a few years previous when ‘times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord’ were experienced in Wales during the revival in 1904. Coal miners were converted in their thousands and whole villages were moved for God. Much more was accomplished in one night than men had tried to do in many years. On that occasion a humble man called Evan Roberts was used by God.


A Douglas Brown

  (Picture: Owner not traced)

Men were being prepared for the coming days. One of these was the Rev. A. Douglas Brown, a Baptist minister from London. Son of one of C.H. Spurgeon ' s workers during the time when Spurgeon was minister at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. Douglas had this to say, "My father's life was a constant and sacred inspiration to me, not only during my early life, but in the later years until he fell asleep in Jesus. Whatever blessing has come to other lives through my ministry and evangelistic work, I owe, under God, to the inspiration, advice and example of one who by his fidelity to the truth and loyalty to Christ, awakened in my heart the Calvary passion for souls." There is no doubt that Douglas had been reared in the principles of revival through the personal life and teaching of his father.


As he ministered to his congregation week after week, this shy man, although he had an exper­ience of salvation, remained aloof from his people.  One day he received a new touch from God. He left his pulpit, came down and walked among his congregation. Everyone received a handshake and when he confessed his lack of concern, tears of repentance and rejoicing followed. What a day it was when amidst all the ritual, God broke a man at His feet. Douglas's ministry was re­volutionised, blessing crowned it from that day.  He experienced what Jesus said in John chapter 12 verse 24, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." The transform­ation that took place that day was to be the means of Douglas. Brown going into places and situations he would never have thought possible, not even in his wildest dreams. He was to become one of the great evangelists of the 1920s.  The godly Rev. J. Stuart Holden of St. Paul's, Port­man Square, London had this to say of him, "He is a teacher sent from God. His words have a power of penetration whether they be spoken or in the printed page. His subject is always Christ, and hence the Divine authentication of his words, and that has made him amongst the most successful evangelists of our day."


It was in February 1921 that Douglas Brown came into that great experience and fully surrend­ered his life to God. On the last Sunday of Feb­ruary 1921, ninety six people came forward for Christ in the evening service at his church. Within four days he found himself in Lowestoft where God saved many souls at meetings conducted in London Road Baptist Church.  In the Annual Report of the Faith Mission mag­azine "Bright Words" of July 1921, the record states, "Spiritual blessing has arisen in the East of England. 'All East Anglia is on fire for God' is a statement made by the Rev. A. Douglas Brown who is being principally used in this remarkable movement which started at Lowestoft, and has since extended to Ipswich, Yarmouth and other places."


Douglas Brown was to be one of the key ins­truments in the hand of God when He moved later that year among the fisher-folks. How wonderful to realise that God's methods are men.


Away at the other end of Britain in a fishing town called Wick, in Caithness, God was preparing another servant who was going to be used. God takes the most unlikely people to do His work.


He took David to defeat the enemies of Israel in the valley of Elah. Elijah the Tishbite was called to stand on Mount Carmel against the prophets of Baal. A humble fisherman called Peter was to be His instrument on the day of Pentecost. When God chose Jock Troup for His work, He was following the pattern He had established in Scripture. "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." (1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 7).


Jock Troup, whose name was to become famous in many places in the days to come, was born in Morayshire in 1896. He came with his parents to Caithness as a boy. Wick was then the pre­mier herring port in Scotland. The. economy of the town depended on the harvest of the "Silver Darlings", as the herring were called. Jock’s parents were well known in Wick, his father for his skill in playing the mandolin, while Mrs. Troup owned a pie and tea shop in the main street.


When Jock left school he went to train as a "cooper" with the firm of Fleet in their curing yard on the Pulteney side of Wick. This type of work was very hard and required long hours.  Whenever the young apprentice was free he began to pursue pleasure. At work he became a very skilled cooper.


War clouds were gathering over Britain and soon the 1914-18 conflict would commence. Jock was called up and joined the Royal Naval Patrol Service. He became a crew member of the steam drifter Strombo which was based outside Dublin at a place called Kingston. The crew was made up of godless men who spent much time gambling.


When ashore, Jock attended Gospel meetings on a Sunday night in Dublin Y.M.C.A. where a Mr. & Mrs. West were in charge who were keen soul winners for Jesus. One Sunday night after Mr. West preached Jock said, "I think I'll get converted." Although this was spoken in a light manner, the prayers 'of some friends in Wick were being answered.


The old fashioned conviction of sin was heavy upon Jock. He stopped swearing, smoking and tried to turn over a new leaf. During the long days on patrol he was restless, his darkened soul could find no peace, so he made up his mind to go and see Mrs. West when he got ashore. By this time the conviction of sin was so heavy that he was afraid to sleep lest he wake up in hell. True to his resolve, when his patrol was finished, he went to see Mrs. West, .who dealt with him from the Word of God. This seeking soul could not grasp the truth of free salvation. While he made his way back to the ship the Devil told him that he was one of the damned. Instead of going to the cabin, Jock went into the wheelhouse and prayed to God for salvation. Immediately the transaction took place and he found "A Saviour, Christ the Lord". God had got His man who was to be "a sharp instrument having teeth" in the days to come.


Jock took his stand for Christ right away. After the incident in the wheelhouse he went to the cabin where the crew were playing cards and boldly testified to salvation. Some of the crew mocked, but the One Who had saved him, stood by him. That night he went across to another ship called the "Sparkling Star" which was on the same patrol. A stalwart for Christ named Andy Duthie was her skipper and he was asleep. The new convert woke him and told what had happened. This wise Christian replied, "Son, you've made the greatest and finest decision any­one can make. You have a friend in me always."

Wherever he went the transformed man testified and sweetly sang the "Songs of Zion".


In 1919 Jock returned to his trade in Wick. As he made barrels for the herring industry, the locals realised that a great change had come into his life. He lived in the reality of 2 Corinthians

chapter 5, verse 11, "If any man be in Christ, be is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new".  Jock attached himself to the Salvation Army and bore a bright testimony for God in Wick.


Jock Troup at the time of the Revival (1921)

  (Picture: A. Cordiner, Peterhead.)

While in Aberdeen prior to going to Yarmouth in 1921, he attended meetings in the Fishermen's mission at 200 Market Street. There he was challenged by preaching on "A clean heart" and a 'Filled Life". As he longed to be his best for God, he prayed for the experience that would make him an effective witness for Christ. God answered his cry and something glorious happened there and then. Jock received such a filling of the Holy Spirit that he had to leave the meeting.  Going up a "close" beside the hall, he stood alone with God and rejoiced over what was done in his life. He seldom talked about this experience because it was so sacred to him, but when he did, he spoke with great reverence. The yielded life was now on God's altar and little did he know then that God would take the willing sac­rifice and use the broken but filled life for His glory. His dedicated heart could now sing,

"Thy Holy Spirit, Lord alone,

Can deeper love inspire,

His power alone within my soul,

Has lit the sacred fire".


From Thurso on the North Caithness coast right south to Eyemouth in Berwickshire things had developed into a pattern. Gospel missions were conducted with a few getting saved, but nothing spectacular was taking place. Yet, at Cairnbulg, a fishing village not very far from Fraserburgh there was a "sound of a going in the mulberry                   trees".  Cairnbulg was the home of some well known godly men who lived in the "secret place of the Most High".  Just after the 1914-18 war one such man was Jimmy "Denley" Ritchie.


A Welshman called Pastor Fred Clarke came to conduct a series of evangelistic meetings in the winter months of 1919. These services were held in the Cairnbulg Gospel Hall, known locally as the "Bulgar Hall", for a fortnight. God blessed His word and about a dozen souls professed sal­vation. Converted at that time was a young fisher lassie whom God was to use during the "times of refreshing" in 1921. Later she would join the Faith Mission and sit under the ministry of John George Govan, its founder. She was an old woman when I met her and she told me of how the young converts, when encouraged to pray by Pastor Clarke, prayed for days and nights. This contin­ued for months, even when Pastor Clarke had left. These requests were not to go unheard, for God was going to answer the cries of His people, who sought Him continually.


Pastor Clarke, along with Mr. George Bell, who was a Scotsman, returned in the autumn of 1921 to the same "Bulgar Hall". 'On this visit to Cairnbulg, these servants of Christ laboured with no visible results. The evangelists decided it was time to move on to fresh pastures. On the Sunday night in October 1921 when the meet­ings were supposed to finish, Jimmy "Denley" Ritchie came to Pastor Clarke and said, "Pastor, God has told me that blessing is going to break out here. You cannot leave." The villages around Fraserburgh were to feel the impact of God's Spirit from that night on. Mr. Clarke and Mr. Bell stayed among these villages for four months. Conversions were most evident amongst the 16 to 18 years age group. Young folk who attended the dance hall which was next to the Gospel hall came to disturb the meeting. One night Pastor Clarke stated. "The Devil's agents are in our midst tonight, but we are claiming them for Jesus." So many young' folk were saved the dance hatl had to close. Many men and women had left Cairnbulg for the East Anglian fishing season when God started to move.  Telegrams were sent to Yarmouth telling friends that some of their relations had got saved.


Peterhead also had its characters who were firebrands for Christ. One of these was "Petrie Shonie" Strachan. Saved during the year of the Welsh Revival in 1904, Petrie became a great wit­ness and soul winner. Constantly called at any hour of the day or night to lead the sick and dying to Christ, this godly soul was a man who never believed in idle talk. During the 1914-18 war when in the Navy at Portsmouth, he attended a service in which the Padre failed to turn up.


Petrie got up and sang the hymn, "Take the Name of Jesus with you, child of sorrow and of woe". Then he preached and at the end of the service            fifteen men professed salvation. He became a soldier in the Salvation Army. On one occasion the officer in charge took ill and Petrie took the service and preached on baptism by immersion even although he was not baptized him­self.  Later he went to the Salvation Army officer and explained how he became convicted about baptism.  Soon after this he was baptized in obedience to the command of Christ. In the Army meetings on Sunday afternoons his testimony would be a real inspiration. Some of those present recounted how he would stand in the passage with his hands raised to heaven and sing, "Come hame, come hame, you're welcome noo, your faults will ne'er be seen".


His wife was baptized at the mouth of the River Ugie near Peterhead in the month of Dec­ember when the snow was thick on the ground. Petrie was a soldier for Christ right to the end. Many bore testimony to the influence of Christ in their lives through that humble servant.


Another warrior was "Black Bill's Robbie". Converted in the "bush rope" hole of a fishing boat, he had a marvellous testimony for Christ.  This rugged character once jumped off Peterhead breakwater in a raging storm in an attempt to rescue a man who had been washed into the water. He was fearless in his attempts to win the lost souls of men and women for Christ.  Before he was converted he could neither read nor write and Petrie Shonie's wife taught him to do just that. He got a notebook and began to write all his experiences in it. As he gave his testimony he would hold up his notebook and

say, "This book contains the story of my life since I got saved." His favourite song when giving his testimony in the Salvation Army meetings on Sunday afternoon was,

"Lay by your old compass,

T'will do you no good,

It will never direct you the right wasy to God,

Mind your helm brother sailor,

And don't fall asleep,

Watch and pray night and day lest you sink in the deep".


Andy Duthie was another stalwart for the Cross. He bore a bright testimony for Christ. As an old fashioned Methodist he was a great student of the teachings of John Wesley. His fav­ourite hymn was "And can it be that I should gain, an interest in the Saviour's blood". The lines which echoed his experience on conversion were,

"My chains fell off,

My heart was free,

I rose, went forth

And followed Thee".

When he quoted these words a ring of sincerity flowed from his lips.  It was to this brother that Jock Troup came in order to tell him that he had got saved. Andy proved true to his word and remained a friend of the cooper-evangelist until he went home to his reward. 


It was thrilling to hear him tell about the incident aboard the Sparkling Star that night in Kingston harbour.  Andy remained at Jock's side and encouraged him during the move of God at Yarmouth 1921, and constantly stood with him when he visited Peterhead.  This precious brother was getting on in years when I was a young Christian, and to hear him give his testimony on a Sunday afternoon in the Salvation Army, or in the Fishermen's Mission on a Saturday evening brought blessing to my heart.


These men and others would meet for "Knee Drill" at 6.30 a.m. every Sunday morning when they would shed tears and cry to God on behalf of souls. It must have been a wonderful sight to see the seats wet with their tears as these men and women prayed for God to move.  Men like "Aikie Touch" Strachan, a trophy of grace if ever there was one, constantly sought God for the lost souls of men. Is it any wonder that God moved?  These people honoured the Holy Spirit.


In the autumn of 1921 a missionary from South Africa was holding meetings in a hall in Prince Street. Sensing that amongst some of God's people there was a concern for souls which he had seldom seen, this missionary went to Glasgow where he met the evangelist Alex Marshall. As they talked together he told Mr. Marshall, "I suggest you get to Peterhead, there is a work ripening, I am sure God is going to bless in a definite way." The evangelist arrived in Peterhead and commenced a fortnight's meetings on a Sunday night. The following Thursday a real break came when three souls professed salvation. One of these was an aunt of mine who went to live in St. Monance, Fife, where she bore a lovely testimony for Christ during her whole lifetime.


A young fisherman who later became a prom­inent businessman was one of the three saved that night. He went into local council work where he took a stand for Christian principles. The third was a man who suffered a serious injury during the war. As Mr. Marshall could only stay in Peterhead for a fortnight, Mr. David Walker of Aberdeen arrived to continue the meetings. God had begun to move even before the fisherfolk went on to East Anglia.


In the extreme north of Scotland Wick became a haven for many fishermen during the herring ­season. Like so many other ports, Wick shared in the spiritual dearth that abounded after the 1914-18 war, yet when the herring fleets gathered, and Christians joined in fellowship, Wick was well able to put to the forefront some godly men.


One of these soldiers of Christ was Billie Stewart who was saved before the 1914-18 war.  He knew the protection of God while on a naval patrol off Shetland during the war years. His ship the 'Adequate' was sunk but the entire crew was rescued. As a Salvationist he proudly stood for the "Blood and Fire", and was a great asset during the revival.


The Baptist Church was blest by the godly, gracious life of their minister, Mr. Millard.  As a caring pastor of the flock, he possessed a trem­endous evangelistic thrust and constantly held campaigns using visiting evangelists. It was amongst these men that God had His diamond which was to cut deep into the Devil' s ranks in the days ahead. That diamond was none other than Jock Troup.


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