John H. Fernandez was a native of North Tiverton, Rhode Island. He was born on 11 March 1896, the oldest of four children born to Manuel and Mary Fernandez. He graduated from Christian Brothers High School in Fall River, Massachusetts. John majored in agriculture at Rhode Island State College from 1913 to 1916 and participated in the Army ROTC Program.
When the United States entered World War I, there were 562 male students enrolled at Rhode Island State College, 334 left to serve in World War I. John, like so many of his classmates, left college to enter the United States Army and immediately began his training. In April 1917 when the United States entered World War I, Corporal Fernandez deployed to France with the American Expeditionary Force as a wagoner/driver.
Corporal Fernandez was involved in combat support operations throughout his assignment as well as in combat operations near Verdun, France. During the Battle of Verdun, his unit came under heavy enemy artillery attacks. John received multiple wounds and was killed instantly.
Corporal John Henry Fernandez was buried with full military honors at Saint Patrick’s Cemetery, Fall River, Massachusetts. Corporal John H. Fernandez, US Army, answered the call to service during World War I and gave his life in service to America and the State of Rhode Island during the “Great War.”