Coral Eswyn (Es) LYSTER

September 27, 1923 ~ July 18, 2009

Coral died after a brief illness in Victoria General Hospital on July 18, 2009.

She was predeceased by her husband Bill. Eswyn will be sadly missed by her children Terry (Carolyn Dew), Jane, and Stuart Allan (Catherine Francis); her grandchildren Cora-Lee (Kevin Herlihy), Sara-Lynn (Gordon Austin), Suzy (Jorge Castillo), Eswyn Ruth and Harrison; her great grandchildren Daniel, Cassandra-Jo and Ashley-Ann and her great great granddaughter Julia.

Eswyn was born at home in Bruxton, North London, England on September 27, 1923 the only child of Stanley Thomas and Coral Winifred (Stuart) ELLINOR. She moved with her shop-keeping family to Aldwyck, Sussex. She attended a convent school. At the outbreak of World War II she volunteered for the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) and served as a writer at HMS Mercury (HM Signals), East Meon, Hampshire 1941-1943. Wren Ellinor married CSM William Leslie Lyster of the Calgary Highlanders in 1942. Bill was seriously wounded in Germany and evacuated to Canada. Eswyn and her infant son were on the first war bride sailing aboard the Mauritania II, landing at Pier 21, in Halifax on February 19, 1946; becoming Canadian citizens in accordance with Order in Council 858. They came by war bride train to Empress, AB and were welcomed into a large, remarkable family. Eswyn made homes in Regina SK, Edmonton AB and North Vancouver BC. Mother to 2 more children, she worked in retail and, after 1960, managed Lyster Agencies Ltd. while pursuing interests in music, painting, needlework, weaving, gardening and writing. Many poems and articles were published including the oft reprinted A BLOODY MIRACLE about the events aboard Landing Craft 6 at the Dieppe raid. In 1974, Bill and Eswyn moved to Sussex Downs in Qualicum Beach, BC. Eswyn was a genealogist and in 1984 published LYSTER PIONEERS OF LOWER CANADA AND THE WEST. She lived a feisty, independent life in Qualicum Beach after Bill’s death in 1996. When careless legislation lost the citizenship of many Canadians including 64,000 war brides and their foreign born children, Eswyn’s campaign for redress included testimony before the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in 2005. Her citizenship was reestablished in 1972, again imperiled in 2007 and finally established by legislation in 2008. Her research and direct communication with thousands of Canadian War Brides resulted in MOST EXCELLENT CITIZENS which will be published posthumously. She belonged to the Federation of BC Writers. Eswyn was a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society, belonged to several garden clubs and nurtured alpine plants in a sumptuous garden. She was a long time member of Spindrift Writers and involved with veteran’s matters through the Royal Canadian Legion. She was a long time congregant at St. Mark’s Anglican Church. Eswyn cherished and nurtured her friendships with her English cousins, her Navy buddies, her Canadian family, her Prairie friends, her business associates, many war brides, her fellow genealogists, advocates, writers and gardeners. Eswyn survived cancer, recovered from a stroke and overcame many infirmities. The Lyster family thanks Marilyn Lysne and Daphne Trelawny who helped her live independently, the Qualicum Beach librarians who facilitated her research and the medical staff who provided care and comfort in Nanaimo and Victoria during her last difficult days. Eswyn requested that donations be made to the charity of your choice in lieu of flowers.

A Memorial Service will be held at

St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Qualicum Beach, BC

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 1:30 pm.

A Most Excellent Citizen


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