Joseph Howarth was born in Liverpool, England on 24 October 1891 and was baptised on 1 November 1891 in St Joseph’s Church. Hailing from a Roman Catholic family, he was the son of Joseph Howarth, a carter, and Mary Ann Duffy.
Howarth’s parents died when he was young and by the time of the 1901 census he was living with his married sister Mrs Herbert (Elizabeth Mary) Dagnall at Phoebe Ann Street in Everton.
When he first went to sea is not certain, but several crew lists show him as an able seaman working aboard Carmania and Saxonia from 1908 through 1911. In April 1912 Haworth was serving as an able seaman aboard the eastward-bound voyage of the Carpathia when that ship rescued the survivors of the Titanic.
Haworth continued to work at sea in the following years; he was married in Liverpool on 21 May 1916 to Amelia Jane Hodgson (b. 1893) and raised a family, their firstborn William arriving in December 1917. Later leaving the sea, Howarth worked as a labourer at the railways and spent the rest of his life in Liverpool. He died suddenly on 18 August 1943 whilst making tea at the Southport railway goods department where he was employed.