ADU NI RAVC was formed on the 1st May 1973 to provide dogs and handlers to enhance the security forces and their bases.
The unique special role and composition of the unit was recognised in 1974 when the Commander Land Forces Major PJH Leng MC MBE granted the ADU NI RAVC personnel the right to wear an enamel Red Paw, measuring 1/4 of an inch, in their berets to the left of their regimental cap badge. This was to unite hundreds of military personnel under one unique specialist badge.
The Red Paw badge, certainly the smallest semi-official badge in the Army, represents the bloody paws of the dogs that were required to carry out their duties, quite often whilst walking on broken glass.
In April 1997, the General Officer Commanding NI Lieutenant General Sir Rupert Smith KCB DSO OBE QGM gave the authority for the ADI NI RAVC personnel to wear a “Red Paw” shoulder flash, as a battle recognition symbol, on the left shoulder of their combat clothing setting them apart from the rest.
Dog handlers were to wear the tiny enamel beret badge with pride for over 20 years before it was realised that the badge had never been officially sanctioned by the Army Dress Committee.
It was at this time that the official shoulder flash was introduced and sanctioned by the Army Dress Committee.