THE mother of a North Yorkshire soldier out in Kuwait called today for Britain to rally behind "our boys" as they prepare for war.

Frances Ellerker has decided to fly the flag - or two flags to be precise - outside her home in Shipton- by-Beningbrough to press home her message to passers-by on the A19.

The widow has hung a Union Flag and the Stars and Stripes from a window, along with a home-made banner reading: "Support our troops."

She said her 26-year-old son Daniel, a driver in the Royal Logistics Corps, was one of many servicemen out in the Gulf who were becoming demoralised by news from back home of huge anti-war demos.

"These are our boys out there - British husbands, sons and brothers - and we should be rallying behind them," she claimed.

"They are working flat out in horrendous conditions, in sandstorms and heat, but are getting feedback from home that people are against them. "I have put out both the Union Flag and the Stars and Stripes because I feel that Britain and America are both out there to fight for our protection and safety."

Mrs Ellerker said her son, a former Easingwold School pupil, had gone out to Kuwait in February.

His departure had been a very emotional moment. "It was when he said he had had to make a will that it really hit home."

Mrs Ellerker's husband, Richard, a police constable, collapsed and died of a heart attack while on duty in York at Christmas in 1993. At his packed funeral, fellow officers praised PC Ellerker's commitment and compassion. Mrs Ellerker said Daniel's departure had brought back memories of the loss of her husband.

"Daniel went to the car and looked back and said: "I love you, Mum." It was just like going back to the day Richard left the house and never came back. He did the same thing. He looked round and said: "I love you," and I never saw him again."

She said Daniel would come back a hero to her. "Richard would have been proud of him."

She said Daniel had rung her yesterday on a satellite phone from Kuwait and she had told him about her flag gesture. He had thanked her and said he would pass the message on to his comrades.

She said that she intended keeping up the flags until her son returned home.

Updated: 10:33 Tuesday, March 18, 2003