At the end of the season, she answered Ivy Benson's ad. for a pianist and joined the band in October.

Starting with a tour of the Middle East armed forces bases in Egypt and North Africa, the band then located for the 1951 summer season at Butlins in Filey, Yorkshire. Off then to Germany for a tour of the Rhineland armed forces bases, followed by a 6-week stint at the Tabaris, a night-club in Dusseldorf.

The band also had a short visit to Berlin, then behind the Iron Curtain and was held up for some considerable time by Russian border guards. They were taken into a wooden hut in the dense forest, with pictures of Lenin and Stalin on the walls. Apparently there was some query with regard to Joan Marriott's (bassist) passport and she was hauled off for interrogation. The girls comforted her by saying that there was a vacancy for a bass-player in the Salt Mines Quintet! Things were eventually sorted out and they continued on their way.

The band was located in Butlins, Pwhelli for the 1952 season. An art student named David Willis was working there as a stagehand and it was love at first sight. They were married that September and Greta left the band in November to join the Gracie Cole Orchestra, in order that she might stay in London while David was at still at college. Two years later they moved to Norwich and settled down.

In 1957 they moved to Canada and are now happily retired in Guelph, Ontario where they spend their time travelling, playing bridge and socialising with friends and neighbours. They live not too far from their children, Sarah and Henry and their 5 grandchildren.

Greta Marshall (now Willis)
played Piano
1950 to 1952


Greta Marshall began playing the piano at the age of 4, under her mother's tuition. Her mother had an 8-piece semi-pro dance band in Norwich and when 15, Greta began with the band, playing the accordion. This went on for 3 years, when she left home on her 18th birthday to join the Royal Kiltie Junior Orchestra as pianist, which was home-based in Manchester.

After touring Britain for the next year, Greta left to join Danny Mitchell's Orchestra at the Pier Ballroom, Redcar, Yorkshire for the summer of 1950.

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