The Cork and Sunk lightships outside Harwich Harbour are passed by the Swallows in their unplanned voyage in the Goblin in We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea. The Galloper and Outer Gabbard lightships are further out to sea.
Jim says that on his passage there was “Not enough wind .. and a good deal of fog by the “Sunk” (WD1).
”See those vessels” said Jim. The red ones, with lanterns half-way up the mast, lightships in for repairs. There’s the “Galloper”. Her place is thirty miles out. … There’s the “Outer Gabbard”. Each one shows a light of her own, you know, flashes so that you can tell which it is, and each has its own fog signal …. Have you heard the “Cork” yet. That’s our local nightingale (WD4).
“Cork lightship” said Jim. “They’ve got enough to give them their twopence an hour …. extra while that’s going on in their ears” (WD6).
“They’re earning their twopences” said Roger. “And it really is foggy now” (WD7).
“Beu …. Eueueueueueueu ..... That was the lightship, somewhere away over the starboard bow, and it had been somewhere on the port bow (WD8).
If they could find the “Sunk” lightship as Jim had done and keep in sight of it till dawn (WD11).
John had seen lightships in Harwich Harbour and at Falmouth, big red hulls, with thick masts amidships, and lanterns on the masts like huge cages, and some of them with balls and things at the masthead (WD15).
“Coming into the Sunk lightship” said Daddy. Keep her going for the lightship ….. “We shan’t be long now’” said Daddy. “A bob for whoever first sights the Cork”. Roger, whio had been on the very point of speaking, held out one hand and pointed ahead with the other. Later They were eating their breakfast in the cockpit as they passed close under the stern of the “Sunk” lightship. (WD24).
There are pictures of the Cork lightship at the ends of two chapters (WD9,10).