Love letters stolen from a Californian couple have been returned almost half a century after they went missing.

The letters were in a suitcase taken from Lloyd and Marion Michael's Rancho Cucamonga ranch in the late 1960s.

The letters ended up with a stamp collector who died, and his son then tracked down Lloyd Michael through his military service number.

Explaining how the letters came to be returned, Mr Michael said the man's son told him: "I have something of yours. I've got a box of letters and I'd like to get them to you."

The Michaels were only 19 and 18 years old respectively when they married in 1942.

They often wrote to each other when Lloyd went off to serve in World War II.

He served in the army air corps and was posted to England, France and Belgium.

"It just brings back all those memories and the tension and not knowing," Marion Michael said.

The couple, who are now aged 89 and 88 respectively, recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

They have four children, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

They have begun re-reading the hundreds of letters.

"If the Lord leaves us enough time we might read them all," Mr Michael added.