REMEMBER the Hall Russell Shipyard in Aberdeen? Well, the last ship built there before it closed in 1992 – leaving only its junior football club to carry the name – is making its last voyage serving the remote South Atlantic island where Napoleon died in exile.

The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) St Helena was completed in 1990 has served the British-ruled island of the same name since then.

Its demise was triggered last year after a South African airline started a weekly commercial flight between the South African port of Cape Town and St Helena, a distance of almost 2000 miles.

The airline said flights could become more frequent if there is demand.

Until the flights started, it took passengers five days at sea after leaving Cape Town to reach the island. The ship, carrying 100 passengers, is two days into its last trip after an official send-off from South Africa.

Island representative Kedell Worboys said the ship was much more than “a load of metal” for the 4000 inhabitants of the island that lies about 1200 miles west of the border between Angola and Namibia, its closest mainland. It is, he said “an extension of St Helena”. Mechanic Lionel Peters said she will be “really missed by many people on the island”.

St Helena’s leadership hopes the new air link will bring more tourists to visit its distant attractions, which include the home where deposed French emperor Napoleon lived from his exile after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 until his death in 1821.

Another vessel will take RMS St Helena’s place with a monthly service after the ship ends its last round-trip, three-week journey to St Helena and Ascension, another British-ruled island.

MOSTLY. Hall Russell came into existence in 1864, building engines and boilers. Its first ship – the steamer Kwang Tung – was launched three years later.

The firm coped well with the switch from iron ships to steel ones and built dozens of passenger and cargo vessels, as well as steam trawlers – in one year alone it built 24 of these. It was a versatile yard – as they all had to be to win work – and in the First World War it built minesweeper trawlers. During the Second World War it built corvettes, frigates and various other defence vessels, before returning to fishing and cargo vessels after the war ended.

Hall Russell constructed a number of specialised vessels and, in 1971, completed the 10,500-ton Thameshaven a cargo ship for a Dutch owner, the biggest ship ever built in Aberdeen.

It became part of state-owned British Shipbuilders (remember them?) in 1977 and turned into something of a jewel in its crown, with offshore patrol and torpedo recovery vessels being produced for the Ministry of Defence.

When it became privatised in 1986 – under the government of Maggie Thatcher – Hall Russell was classed as a warship yard, which made it nearly impossible for it to compete in the market for merchant vessels.

In 1989, A&P Appledore took over the yard, but orders remained scarce, with only repair work carried out until it closed in 1992.

When St Helena was built, around 300 people worked at the yard, compared to the 1200 who were employed in 1907.

NOTHING in the way of shipbuilding. The site was redeveloped and is now a deep-water berth called Telford Dock, which is used by bigger vessels connected with the offshore oil industry.

Hall Russell’s dry dock is run under the name River Dee Ship Repairers by the A& Group.

But its once-thriving social club is gone, leaving only Hall Russell United FC to carry the name.

The club was formed in 1915 as a works team. It reached the final of the Scottish Junior Cup in 1929 but lost 3-0 to Newtongrange Star at Tynecastle.

It became defunct in 1958 but was reformed a decade later by Ally Scott – now the honorary president – a key member of the original club, who worked at Hall Russell Shipyard.

Hall Russell United FC is a thriving member of the Scottish Junior Football Association. It plays in the North Superleague after joining the SJFA in 1989.