William Cross entered the army as Ensign in the 62nd Foot, his commission bearing date 5th of December 1798. On 28th February 1800, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, and transferred to 9th Foot. On 25th of February 1802, he was promoted to the rank of Captain, and on 5th May same year was transferred to 36th Regiment.
On 29th of October 1805, he embarked with the 1st Battalion of his regiment for Germany. From thence, in 1806, he embarked for South America and commanded the left wing of 36th Foot in the operations before and in the attack on Buenos Ayres under General Whitelock.
In 1808 he sailed for Portugal, where he was detached in charge of three companies at the battle of Roleia, 17th of August 1808. He was also present at the battle of Vimiera, on 18th of August, under Sir A. Wellesley, and took part with the 36th Regiment in the advance on Madrid, under Lieut.-General Hope; in the subsequent retreat under Sir J. Moore, and in the battle of Corunna.
On the 18th of December 1808, he was promoted to the rank of Major. He commanded the battalion from 13th of October 1811, till May 1812, when his bad health caused him to proceed to join the second battalion 36th Foot in England. He resumed the command of the battalion in Spain on 10th of December 1813, and for his service at the battle of Nivelle, November 1813, was promoted Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, and awarded a Gold Medal.
In approbation of his services at the battles of Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse (where he was severely wounded through the neck), he received a Army Gold Cross. He was also appointed C.B. On 23rd of May 1816.
He was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel, and on 29th of April 1824, he was passed to the half pay list. On 22nd of July 1830, he was promoted to the rank of Brevet-Colonel, and on 23rd of November 1841, Major-General.
Tunic worn by Capt. W. Cross