The End of Conestoga - Another Piece of History Gone

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All barrack blocks in HMCS CORNWALLIS were named after then-current and past ships of the Royal Canadian Navy – including a few ‘Stone Frigates’ (Commissioned Shore Establishments). In 1968, CFB Cornwallis’ recruit school continued this tradition in maintaining the names of the various barracks. CONESTOGA barrack, one of the service women’s quarters, was named for HMCS CONESTOGA located in Galt (Cambridge), Ontario.

HMCS CONESTOGA was the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service’s (WRCNS or colloquially ‘Wrens’) training centre and became the first female-commanded Canadian commissioned ‘ship’ in June 1943 when Lieutenant-Commander Isabel MacNeill was appointed commanding officer. HMCS CONESTOGA was decommissioned in 1946.

Women's service in the military during the Second World War challenged the tradition of an all-male armed forces. Between 1942 and 1946 close to 7000 volunteers enlisted in the WRCNS and served in 26 non-combat related occupations in Canadian naval bases at home or abroad. The WRCNS made an outstanding contribution to Allied victory, paved the way for future generations of Canadian service women and raised questions about the equality of women in the civilian world.

It was fitting that this barrack block at CORNWALLIS was named in honour of all of the women who served their country in the Royal Canadian Navy. CONESTOGA Block would continue to serve as one of the RCN’s and tri-service women’s quarters until CFB Cornwallis was closed in 1994.

1-Conestoga Block North End - 2 Dec 162-Conestoga Block South Wing - 3 Dec 163-Conestoga Block North End - 2 Dec 164-Conestoga Block North End Gone - 2 Dec 165-Conestoga Block Back Section Gone - 3 Dec 166-Conestoga Block Last of Read Section - 2 Dec 167-Conestoga Block South Wing - 3 Dec 168-Conestoga Block South - 5 Dec 169-Conestoga Block South - 9 Dec 1610-Conestoga Block Cleaning Wreckage - 9 Dec 1611-Conestoga Block Gone - 10 Dec 162016 Conestoga Block demolished, Drill shed (Sea Plant)2016 December Blue Building and Catholic Church2016 December Conestoga Block Demolished 22016 December Conostoga Block Demolished 3

This site was created by Corey Forman with assistance from Douglas Moore, CYS, RCN/CF RET’D.