Geoffrey Howard Barnish was born at King Street in Wigan, Lancashire, England on 13 January 1887. He was the son of surgeon William Croudson Barnish and Jane Ann Jardine.
He obtained his Second Mate’s certificate in August 1907, his First Mate’s certificate in December 1909 and Master’s certificate in July 1911.
In April 1912 Barnish was serving as second officer aboard the eastward-bound voyage of the Carpathia when that ship rescued the survivors of the Titanic.
After Carpathia he served as Fourth Officer aboard Saxonia and later served with the merchant fleet during WWI, being decorated for his service. He later rose to the rank of captain before his retirement.
In 1922 he married Margery Helen Renfree (b. 1895) and the couple had two sons.
Geoffrey Howard Barnish died in Seamore, Heysham, Lancashire on 27 November 1941.