Troops in Afghanistan had to ask for mine detection training and practised in a "sand pit", an inquest into the death of a soldier from Kidderminster heard.

The "concerned" soldiers hunted out an expert on base who passed on his knowledge of metal detectors in the months before an explosion which killed Lance Corporal Richard Larkin, 39, and three comrades in June 2008.

A private in a nearby vehicle in Lashkar Gah that day said he at first received only a "20-30 minutes" briefing, without actually handling an Ebex metal detector.

The witness - identified as Soldier K for security reasons - said: "We received a briefing and watched a demonstration but had no hands-on (training) with an Ebex.

"When I got to theatre (of war) after about three weeks some Ebexes were supplied to use. We didn't have any training on them. I didn't personally have any hands-on.

"Later on in the tour in Lashkar Gah we were concerned with our lack of training and spoke to an explosives specialist, who was based at the same camp as us, who organised some training for us.

"He (the expert) had a kind of lane, like a sand pit where you could bury objects and practise detecting them. Things like that. We also arranged official training back at Camp Bastion, which we undertook, at the same time, about four months into the tour."

Soldier K continued: "We had to request it. It didn't happen until April. It didn't happen on our reception training."

Was the training better at Camp Bastion four months later, the coroner asked. Soldier K said: "I was happy with the training in April. That was good training."

Corporal Bryant, of the Intelligence Corps - described by her family as their own Angel of the North - was killed while taking part in an operation east of Lashkar Gah when her Snatch Land Rover was hit by a mine on June 17 2008.

The death of Cpl Bryant, originally from Cumbria, made her the first British female casualty in Afghanistan. She died with three Territorial Army special forces soldiers, Corporal Sean Robert Reeve, 28, of the Royal Signals, Lance Corporal Richard Larkin, 39, and Trooper Paul Stout, 31.

The back wheel of their vehicle hit a pressure-plated improvised explosive device (IED) hidden in a ditch. They were in the Land Rover with a fifth soldier, the only survivor, known as Soldier E, who was sat in the passenger seat.

Post-mortem examinations showed that L/Cpl Larkin, from Cookley in Kidderminster, died of injuries to the chest and abdomen following an explosion. Cpl Bryant, from Chicksands, Bedfordshire, Cpl Reeve, from Patcham, Brighton, and Pte Stout, from Woolton in Liverpool, died of blast wounds caused by an explosion.