QUOTE(Chris Henschke @ May 17 2007, 07:15 AM)
' Trotter : I reckon they will. ...it was at the time when the Boche was sending over a lot of that gas that smells like pear-drops, you know?
Osborne : I know. Phosgene.
Trotter : That's it. We were scared to hell of it. All of a sudden we smelt that funny sweet smell, and a fellow shouted 'Gas!' - and we put on our masks; and then I spotted what it was.'
Journey's End, Act II, Scene 1
Classically, Phosgene was described as smelling like "new-mown hay"-- haven't heard it described as "pear drops". Doc2
Doc2 is correct and, although he served on the Western Front, R C Sherriff was wrong to make his characters describe phosgene as smelling of pear drops. The Germans used bromine compounds as tear producers and the most widely used was bromacetone which they called ‘B-Stoff’. This had the characteristic pear drops smell. Owing to the need for acetone for explosive manufacture and aeroplane dope, they also used Brommethylethyl Ketone (Bn-Stoff) from July 1915, which I think had a similar odour.