It was the first time Marsali had returned to Kolkata (Calcutta), where she had been stationed during the Second World War over 70 years earlier. During that time she worked tirelessly with other Morse code operators in the Special Operations Force 136, signalling to people behind enemy lines in Burma. The communication with Burma was vital as Burma was overrun by the Japanese who were threatening to invade India. It was imperative that an emergency line was open day and night so agents could get in contact.
Marsali volunteered to join the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), part of the Women’s Territorial Services at just 17 years of age. She was eventually called up in May 1944 and received the Burma Star and the 1939-1945 medals for her service in WW2.
Marsali Wood in 1945 whilst serving in Force 136 in India
On the tour, at Bhowanipore Cemetery in Calcutta (pictured below), she was able to lay poppies, supplied by the Legion, on the grave of a friend, who had died at just 22 years of age.
"“Sadly, there were many war casualties and I did lose comrades who were also my friends”Marsali Wood
Pilgrimage tours prove to be emotional for many, as Nichola Rowland from Remembrance Travel, explains: “We are very aware that many people can find the experience overwhelming, so we ensure we’re on hand to support our guests at all times.”
“It was more of a pilgrimage than a holiday. Everything about it was touching. We can’t praise the Legion enough - it did a superb job and the guide who accompanied us had such incredible knowledge and respect for the veterans on the trip.”Marsali's daughter Karen Nevshehir