GULF war widow Anne Lennox spoke today of her concerns for the families of Servicemen preparing to fight in a new war against Iraq.

Her father, John Lofthouse, said it was a great pity that "tyrant" Saddam Hussein's regime was not sorted out during the first conflict.

Anne, who lives near Tadcaster, was widowed in the early days of the conflict 12 years ago when her RAF pilot husband, Squadron Leader Garry Lennox, was shot down over Iraq.

She had one baby daughter, Rachel, and was pregnant again at the time Garry was killed. Matthew, who was born weeks after the war ended, will celebrate his 12th birthday next month.

Anne said she did not wish publicly to give her views on George Bush and Tony Blair's war plans, other than to say: "If war can be avoided, it would be more desirable."

But she said: "I am thinking about the wives and families of the Servicemen, and hoping there will not be too many casualties.

"Unfortunately, I fear there will be more casualties in this war than the last, when 24 were killed as a direct result of the conflict. I do feel for the families and also the soldiers themselves."

She said she followed news about the impending war, but without being "riveted" to it. Her children, fully aware of their father's role in the last war, were also greatly interested in it as well.

Mr Lofthouse, who also lives near Tadcaster, said that if the war went ahead and there were casualties, he hoped the Government would treat Servicemen and their families better this time round.

He felt the politicians had not done enough to support such people after the conflict had ended last time. Asked if he supported the war plans of Bush and Blair, he said he felt Saddam had to be dealt with, and he believed it was "sad and dangerous" the way that NATO and European countries had become divided on the issue.

"There's no doubt about it that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant. I think it's a great pity it wasn't finished off and sorted out the first time," he said.

"John Major was far too weak. If Margaret Thatcher had still been Prime Minister, she wouldn't have let George Bush senior stop it there."

Updated: 10:37 Monday, March 10, 2003